I’m pretty sure that Rainbow Rowell and I are more or less the same age, give or take a year or two. We clearly see eye-to-eye when it comes to several things: depressing 80s new wave music from the UK, what it was like to go to high school in the time before the internet, and Star Wars.
One of my first first clear memories is of my dad taking me into downtown Boston on a weekend (just me! no little brother! something special was going to happen!) to meet his best friend and his niece, who was just about my age. We met up at a fancy movie theater (it is now a Whole Foods, of course), and then they told us that for the next two hours, we were going on an adventure.
That adventure, of course, was Star Wars. And no, I won’t call it A New Hope. I’ll just call it Star Wars. And I loved it. Maybe not as much as my dad and his friend, but I loved it a lot. And a few weeks later, my dad (who was in advertising, and happened to have one of the very first VCRs) brought home a shaky, pirated, very illegal, hand-held video recording of Star Wars that he got from some guy who knew a guy.
And we watched that thing until the tape was pretty much see-through.
I had Star Wars birthday parties and cakes. We wore Tshirts with iron-on Star Wars decals from Spencers. We traded Star Wars cards. We had all of the original figures and cool Kenner toys. I was all about Star Wars and the original trilogy.
I’ve seen those movies in pretty much every single iteration that George Lucas has come up with. When they re-released them in the theaters in the late 90s, my dad and I went to all three. We went to special screenings at fancy theaters where orchestras played John Williams’ score. We couldn’t get enough.
Until the prequels came around. Those I’ve had enough of, thanks. I saw each of them once, and that’s it. My kids have seen them over and over again, but I just can’t. There’s just something so inherently wrong about them that I just can’t bring myself to care about the mythology from that time period in the canon. Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels are fine (just last week I made my 6 year old a stuffed Rotta the Hutt doll!). Just no prequels.
And that’s why I bonded with Elena, the main character of Kindred Spirits.
No, I never waited in line to see Star Wars. No, I’ve never worn any sort of Star Wars cosplay. But still. I felt a kinship with Elena. OK, so her favorite is Princess Leia, and mine is Han Solo, but I can get past that.
I loved this little story about a girl with Star Wars in her heart. My only complaint is that it just wasn’t longer. I could have had a whole book about Elena and Gabe and Troy. And Elena’s mother. And the grumpy movie theater dude. I wanted more. What happens when they go back to the movies later that night? What happens in school on Monday? What about Elena’s dad in Florida?
But 60-something pages is all we got, and I’ll try and get past that, too.
Special thanks to the wonderful faintingviolet for sending me a copy of this. You are the best!