Epeolatry Book Review: Jedi Summer by John Boden


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Title: Jedi Summer
Author: John Boden
Genre: Coming of Age Horror
Publisher: Silver Shamrock Publishing
Release Date: 31st August, 2021

Synopsis: A boy and his little brother wander through the loosely stitched summer of 1983. It was a magical one. Full of sun and surrealism, of lessons and loss, and of growing up and figuring it out.

Nestled in the mountains of Pennsylvania is a small town unlike any other. Things are strange here, always have been. People die but hang around, pets too. Everyone knows your name, and sometimes, a thing as simple as a movie coming to the local theatre is all it takes to keep you going.

Jedi Summer follows a pair of brothers one summer as they await the release of the year’s biggest blockbuster movie. Jedi Summer falls into the coming-of-age horror category, a sub-genre that I personally enjoy. According to the author, this work is at least semi-autobiographical. 

Boden does a great job establishing atmosphere. His setting provides a definite sense of time and place, and capitalizes on nostalgic vibes. 

Where the book falls short for this reader is on organization and presentation. Jedi Summer reads like a collection of loosely connected short stories or vignettes. No overarching element connects individual chapters, and certain seemingly interesting and important plot points fade into the background never to resurface again. 

The novel’s emotional climax centers around the passing of the main characters’ father, which lacked strong emotional resonance, since the majority of the story circled the siblings’ relationship to their mother and the difficulties of being raised by a single parent. The father only appears in a few scenes, and the reader never gets a chance to know him. 

The book is a quick and enjoyable read. Disjointedness of the chapters and lack of a central narrative holds it back from receiving a “5”. Despite those minor complaints, I recommend this if you enjoy coming-of-age horror and/or stories that capitalize on nostalgia.

out of 5 ravens.

Available from Amazon.

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