Star Wars YA Roundup by Michelle Biwer
In 2014 after the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm, Disney relegated the Star Wars Extended Universe to non-canon status, leaving a new generation of writers a fresh canvas with which to fill in some of the backstories and gaps in Star Wars mythology. Of course any public librarian knows these new books are coming out fast for every age group, including some great new YA lit. The books on the list below mostly feature young people rising up against the Galactic Empire and joining the Rebellion (aka some great readalikes for teens who like dystopians and/or Star Wars).
Titles listed in Star Wars chronological order
A prequel to last year’s standalone Star Wars film, Rogue One, Rebel Rising covers Jyn Erso’s backstory including her upbringing in the heart of the Rebellion and her tempestuous but loving relationship with her adopted parent, rebel extremist leader Saw Guerrera.
Guardians of the Whills by Greg Rucka: Disney Lucasfilm Press, 2017
Baze and Chirrut were spiritual leaders on their home moon of Jedha, at least until the Galactic Empire began destroying their city and mining their religious temples for resources. This middle grade novel explains how the Empire’s takeover led these two heroes (also first seen in Rogue One) to resist and protect their home with Saw Guerrera and the Rebellion.
Ahsoka Tano, the first female Jedi to be featured prominently in Star Wars lore and former apprentice of Anakin Skywalker, builds a resistance movement against the Galactic Empire on the Outer Rim planet of Raada. A must for fans of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars or Star Wars Rebels tv shows, this book covers the time between when Ahsoka leaves the Jedi Order and joins the Rebellion.
Princess Leia Organa is just sixteen when she joins the Junior Imperial Senate, intending to follow in the footsteps of her parents by leading the planet of Alderaan and protecting it as much as possible from the Empire. Leia soon finds out that her parents are more than just good diplomats, they are leaders of the Rebellion. This novel lays the groundwork for the very beginnings of the Rebellion on Alderaan and Leia’s involvement before the events of A New Hope.
All Thane and Ciena wanted during their childhoods was to one day become imperial pilots. They both train hard to fulfill this dream but after seeing the horrors that the Empire inflicts against its people Thane becomes disillusioned and joins the Rebellion. These childhood friends find themselves fighting on opposite sides of the war in this rare, humanizing portrayal of rebel and imperial soldiers. Also a good entry point for those not as familiar with Star Wars as the main characters are first introduced in this book and not currently tied to any other part of the franchise.
Anthology featuring 40 new stories set in the Star Wars universe from the perspectives of characters you might not expect, including the monster from inside the trash compactor in A New Hope…There are gems in this collection for both the casual fan and the super obsessed, lightsaber owning fan. The star studded author lineup includes the Young Adult and Middle Grade authors Renée Ahdieh, Tom Angleberger, Jeffrey Brown, Meg Cabot, Rae Carson, Zoraida Córdova, Delilah S. Dawson, Claudia Gray, E. K. Johnston, Nnedi Okorofor, Daniel José Older, Beth Revis, Madeleine Roux, Gary D. Schmidt, Sabaa Tahir, and Elizabeth Wein.
Bonus non YA title: Set before the events of The Force Awakens, Bloodline is a great follow up to Leia, Princess of Alderaan. Now Senator Leia, the former Princess of Alderaan is campaigning to become First Senator, essentially the leader of the new coalition government after the defeat of the Empire. Rumors spread about Leia’s true parentage, tying up a plot thread of the original trilogy with an intriguing twist.
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About Robin Willis
After working in middle school libraries for over 20 years, Robin Willis now works in a public library system in Maryland.
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