Blue Stars: Mission One: The Vice Principal Problem: A Graphic Novel

Blue Stars: Mission One: The Vice Principal Problem: A Graphic Novel
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
March 05, 2024
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When cousins Riley Halfmoon and Maya Dawn move to Urbanopolis to live with their activist grandma, they get off to a rocky start. Outgoing Riley misses her Muscogee cousins but is sure that she and Maya will be instant BFFs. Meanwhile, introvert Maya misses her parents, on active duty in Japan, and just wants some space to herself. At school, Maya joins Robotics Club and Riley bonds with fellow gymnasts. Just when they start to feel at home, their school culture is threatened by an influential foe in disguise. Joining student council feels like a way to help, so both cousins toss their hats in the ring for sixth-grade class president. But when they realize what they’re up against—money, power, and lies—they quickly shift from competition to cooperation, joining forces as superheroes. Riley is savvy with people; Maya is a whiz with gadgets. In no time, this dazzling duo is off to save the day! Relatable and rich in themes of family, community, and compromise, the Blue Stars series will entertain and empower, inspiring readers to be the stars they are.

Editor review

1 review
Kids vs. Evil Administrators
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Riley Halfmoon has lived most of her life in Oklahoma near her mother's closeknit Muscogee family. When her mother, Jill, gets a job in Urbanopolis as the City Hall press secretary and her father wants to go to nursing school, the three leave to move in with her father's mother, Gayle, who is a Black artist. At the same time, her cousin Maya Dawn has to move in with Grandma Gayle as well because her parents are in the military. Her father, Dave's brother, and her mother, who is white, can't take her to their latest post. Riley is apprehensive about her new living arrangements, but is looking forward to rooming with Maya, and has arranged to continue her gymnastics at a local gym. Maya is not happy to be away from her parents and takes it out on her cousin. The two start middle school and find activities to do. Maya is the only person in robotics club, but both girls decide to run for student body president. They are leery of Vice Principal Balderdash, who drives a very fancy car and is fond of sending people to detention. When the mayor's office announces that it will be delegating budgetary decisions to the school administrators, Jill Halfmoon knows that this is a veiled way of announcing budget cuts. Balderdash tells each of the three candidates that he will support their favorite activities (clubs, the library, sports) while secretly plotting to take all the money he can and build more detention facilities. The girls work together to expose the vice principal's evil scheme, luring him out of his office so they can place a bug, combing through hours of tape, and when they find him detailing his evil plans, playing a clip on the school screens. Will this be enough to scuttle his plans and save the programs that students really want?

Good Points
I love Maya's interest in science and technology, especially because this gives her many skills that are very useful to the girls campaign against Balderdash! The extended family living together and having Maya live with them while her parents are in the military is something that doesn't come up frequently in middle grade literature, but perhaps should. The girls have different interests, but they are able to both campain for student body president without fighting with each other, which was refreshing. The team of Magoon, Smith, and Murakami adds lots of diversity to the cast of characters, and the story is generally upbeat. I liked the note from the authors at the end about kids getting involved in their schools.

This is a good choice for readers who want a graphic novel similar to Varian Johnson's The Great Greene Heist or books with evil principals or school elections. There isn't much Native representation in graphic novels (Cohen's Two Tribes is the only one I can think of), so this was good to see.
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