Don’t be afraid. Below are amazing stories discussed herein. Beware anyone that ever tells you to avoid a story, because of the genre, type of story, characters, the writing style, etc. A good story will find a way to reach into your soul. It may be problematic. It may not be a big extravagant plot. But a good story is a good story, no matter how small (and/or person). Now, these four stories were written as Young Adult novels. What that means is the focus is about the main character (from early teens to early twenties) growing into the type of person they want to become. For example, A New Hope is a perfect example of the Young Adult focus, with Luke Skywalker’s character. Luke goes from a farm boy stuck going nowhere, to aspiring to do good in a rebellious alliance against the oppressive Galactic Empire, by learning the ways of the Force like his Father. Luke may become a hero, but the focus is more on his journey through adolescence.
If not all these stories are your cup of tarine tea that is fine. I have gone back to these stories, and they all offer so much emotion! Sometimes people just want to read for plot, instead of both story and plot. Amy Wishman wrote a wonderful article about how some fans might read Star Wars stories differently (found here). I do hope everyone gives these stories a chance as they are not just great Star Wars stories, but wonderful stories in general. They may not all have happy endings, but not every story will.
Ahsoka by E. K. Johnston
Set about one year after the rise of the Galactic Empire, Ahsoka follows the light side Force user Ahsoka Tano on a rekindling of spirits as she ultimately decides to find her own path to take on the Imperial machine of oppression. As a character driven story we gain so much of the inbetween of moments from Ahsoka Tano that a visual story might have left out. Little moments that fill up the genuine compassion that is Ahsoka. From her coming to terms, with being ripped away from the Jedi Order. To the reinforcements of her decisions in life. What must she unlearn in her new reality? For further information on this novel, Amy Wishman wrote her thoughts on the novel here, I wrote a review here, a companion article here, and there is a Force Discourse podcast episode, with guest host Amy Ratcliffe about the novel here!
Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray
Set about 16 years after the rise of the Galactic Empire, Leia, Princess of Alderaan follows Leia Organa on an adventure that leads to her deciding to take a stand against the Empire. This tale bridges together the past, present, and future of the Star Wars universe into a long lasting story. The movies show Leia as someone already driven to fight. This novel peels back the curtain of what led her on that path. The novel also sets the stage, for the adult novel Bloodline, which is also written by Claudia Gray. For further information I wrote a review about the novel here, Amy Wishman wrote a wonderful article about Shmi Skywalker and forgotten Mothers in Star Wars here, and Unmistakably Star Wars episode 81 has a great discussion about missing mothers, with guest Dr. Annalise Ophelian discussing her Looking for Leia documentary found here.
Rebel Rising by Beth Revis
Set about 5 years after the rise of Palpatine’s tyranny, Rebel Rising, follows a young Jyn Erso as she must find a way to move forward in life. Ripped from her parents at the age of 8, trained by an insurgent extremist until the risked became too great, and on her own at the age of 16 until she was imprisoned at age 21. The focus of this story is the build up of Jyn Erso’s hopes and utter crushing betrayal by both the Rebellion and Empire. The ending does a great job of transitioning into the movie Rogue One. For further information I wrote a review about the novel here, Unmistakably Star Wars episode 80 has a wonderful interview with special guests Janine K. Spendlove and Beth Revis here, The Force Discourse episode that discusses Saw Guerrera here, and The Force Discourse episode that discusses Jyn Erso here.
Lost Stars by Claudia Gray
Set about 8 years after the fall of the Jedi Order, Lost Stars, follows Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell from their journey to become servants of the Empire to their deviations of said path as war ramps up once Alderaan and the Death Star become only a memory. Throughout their journey their lives become intertwined in the events from the movies A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. This outside looking in perspective and their own journey make a compelling story that will leave you wanting more. For more information I wrote a review here, Jeremy Scott wrote a review here, I wrote a reading guide to the first year of the New Republic, which includes this novel here, and Unmistakably Star Wars episode 14 (released January 2016) included a discussion about what was the best Star Wars novel here.
What future Star Wars Young Adult novels await is at this time officially unknown. There are characters I hope get their story told. As I hinted at in the From A Certain Point of View review collaboration, with Amy Wishman (found here), there are a few characters I hope the authors will get a chance to write about one day. The characters were Shmi Skywalker, Tynnra Pamlo, and Padmé Amidalla. I ever so hope novels about them get told, but there are a few more characters I certainly hope get their own Young Adult novels!
Characters I hope get their own Young Adult novel:
Hera Syndulla: The best pilot in Stars Wars, and a General in the Rebel Alliance. We got a taste of a young Hera in “Mercy Mission” short story by Melissa Scott, and it was amazing! I hope we get a story about how Hera learns that she loves to fly, and wants to fight for all (not just for Ryloth)!
Dhara Leonis: After the Empire took her away, for being Force sensitive, her brother Zare Leonis and his friend Merei Spanjaf did all they could to rescue her. However, not before the Grand Inquisitor taught her some of his twisted lessons. Much is still unknown of what took place behind the walls on that Arkanian castle. How will Dhara find the answers of balance outside the temptation of the dark side and the absence of any light side teacher?
Satine Kryze: We first met Satine, when she was the Duchess of Mandalore, and her fierce determination of peaceful resolutions. But what was her life beforehand? What led to the feud between her and her sister Bo-Katan? It had to have taken place before the “peacekeepers” Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn spent a year protecting her. I want the story of Satine and Bo-Katan!
There are of course countless more characters that would make excellent additions to the current slew of amazing Young Adult novels! What characters would you like to see explored? Comment below or send a message to @UnmistakablySW or @SpearXXI on Twitter!
Janine K. Spendlove wrote a Young Adult fantasy series War of the Seasons. I mentioned it before here, when the novelization to The Last Jedi was announced. I found the series to really hook me into the world as Spendlove wove together a story about loss, consequence, and family. The directions this series took where quiet beautiful. The fourth novel is a collection of shorter stories, as the trilogy is focused on the point of view of only the main character. Janine K. Spendlove wrote the short story “Inbrief” in the Star Wars universe, which you all should definitely check out as well (I wrote a review of it here).