Perhaps playing off the principle that a great ending will mitigate almost anything, this story has at least a dozen endings, and all of them are pretty spectacular.
It ends with a kiss, of course. The third graphic novel in the Jedi Academy series turns out to be a love story, although it takes the characters a while to realize it. At the beginning of the school year, Roan is still in denial, muttering, “Well, sort of. I don’t know if she’s my GIRLFRIEND exactly.” (It doesn’t help that other students call Gaiana and Roan “Groan.”) But by the close of this high jinks–filled year, every student at the academy gets a satisfying ending, even the bullies and troublemakers. Their End-of-the-Year Awards tell us how much they’ve changed, or failed to change. The honors include “Cuddliest,” “Future Sith Lord,” and “Most Surprising.” Roan, who’s training to be a pilot, is “Highest Flying.” It’s worth noting that this book has some of the best jokes in the series (the terrible school cook says, “Meat is vegetables, right?”) and a few of the worst (an assigned book is called Charlie and the Droid Factory). Roan gets the best ending of all. It’s a small panel that shows him looking out into space, thinking about home—or maybe adventures in a galaxy far, far away.
Everybody’s middle school years should be as ultimately satisfying as Roan’s, whether they are Jedis-in-training or not. (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)