As we celebrate a beloved series and await the next installment, let’s explore some fantastic reads for our newest favorite heroine, Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Here are some great books, new and old, that I would recommend to Rey if she came into the library during her breaks from lightsaber training and flying the Millennium Falcon.
Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein
Emilia and Tio, adopted siblings and best friends, are budding young pilots who are caught on opposing sides of a war to control Ethiopia, the last unconquered African country. This is an engaging historical fiction pilot story for Rey, who would have no trouble drawing parallels between herself and Tio, who is captured by the Italians and doing his best to escape, and her friend Finn with Tio’s sister Emilia, who follows after to help save him.
Breaking Sky by Cori McCarthy
In the near future, daring pilot Chase Harcourt flies one of two elite prototype jets in a race to save the United States from a deadly cold war with China. Rey would love this book because Chase is a superbly gifted pilot, just like Rey, who also finds herself on the forefront of a battle between two great powers.
Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce (2013 Margaret A. Edwards Award)
Alanna is a young girl determined to be a knight, so she trades places with her twin brother, pretends to be a boy, and enlists as a page. Alanna discovers her magic and her true identity which continues in a four-volume series. Akin to Alanna, Rey is discovering her connection to the Force as well as the secrets of her past. I think Rey would enjoy reading Alanna grow up from a stubborn young woman to a strong knight determined to protect her kingdom and break cultural barriers.
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Beginning an epic dystopian trilogy, Ruby is sent away by her family to a containment camp for children with special abilities but manages to escape. Together with other runaways, Ruby searches for safety and the means to find her family while being chased by the military, bounty hunters, and an undercover rebellion. Since Rey’s family left her on Jakku and she’s waiting for them to return for her, Rey would identify with Ruby’s determination to be hopeful, even in the face of failure, to find her family and learn that maybe her friends can also be a type of family.
First in the Lunar Chronicles series, orphan and gifted mechanic Cinder sacrifices her chances at freedom to bring Prince Kai his android, secretly harboring vital information designed to thwart the Lunar queen Levana from ruling the Empire. Rey, too, has a penchant for helping droids and would love the opportunity to read about brilliant and noble Cinder and her later adventures.
Starflight by Melissa Landers
Orphan and former criminal Solara wants to find a new life, buying her way onto a ship run by an old classmate and enemy, Doran. When he discovers her, a series of events land them on a smuggling ship, the Banshee, and chased by galaxy police. Though opposite from her own background, Rey can still relate to Solara who wants to leave from a bad situation, and enjoy this exciting space pirate odyssey sure to kindle excitement.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (2012 Alex Award)
Orphaned Wade lives a harsh existence in a slum but is a gifted gamer. Together with a small group of friends, he begins a virtual quest for a vast fortune which pits him against a powerful organization. Since Rey can relate to surviving a hard life, this journey of an unlikely hero might find her interest.
Lastly, since Rey viewed Han Solo and General Leia Organa as fascinating legends of her world, she might also like reading the adventures of their imagined children.
Young Jedi Knights: Heirs of the Force by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta
Jedi trainees Jacen and Jaina Solo, Lowbacca, Tenel Ka and the droid Em Teedee discover a wrecked TIE fighter and run into the fighter’s wrecked pilot who has been in hiding waiting for his chance to fight again.
May the 4th be with you!
— Kara Hunter, currently reading Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare and Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch