LEAGUE OF LASERS by Mike Lawrence, the sequel to STAR SCOUTS, is not only fun, it builds wonderfully on the characters and situations that were so enjoyable in the first book. The upcoming graphic novel flips back and forth between scenes of marooned protagonist Avani Patel’s interactions with her nemesis Pam and the efforts of her ever-larger group of friends’ attempts to rescue her. And this time, Avani’s Dad is along for the journey!
The adventures and interactions are more mature and serious in this story, and the relationships are carefully nuanced, but still relatable. Avani and Pam realize that they need each other to survive, and they each find an appreciation for the others’ strengths. Avani is faced with snaring (super cute and doe-eyed) animals to survive, and Pam, free from her methane helmet, learns to put others’ needs before her own in both small and hugely dramatic ways.
The tension and jealousy between Jen, Avani’s Earth BFF, and Mabel, Avani’s Star Scout BFF, will ring true to readers who have grappled with balancing friendships. Just as Pam and Avani must learn to support each other, Mabel and Jen must work together to avoid disaster.
A delightful section of the book is the introduction of Frank and his frogdog, who live on Blork, the planet on which Avani and Pam are marooned. His delight in getting to know these space travelers feels authentic and endearing, and his willingness to assist his new friends will inspire everyone who meets him.
The illustrations are colorful and imaginative throughout the book. The challenge of creating a whole new world of flora and fauna and inhabitants to admire was clearly accepted with enthusiasm. The middle-grade gross out fart jokes of Space Scouts have been replaced with the gooey, drippy, slurping gross out interactions with animals. It’s a perfect addition to the book, and my kids loved the saliva-filled scenes as much as I did.
Oh, and Pam’s hair is absolutely amazing!
Star Scouts: League of Lasers comes out March 20, 2018. Order yours today! Recommended for ages 8-12 (but cool, older people will like it too).