I'll admit it: we're beyond late to the Star Wars universe of stand alone books. My daughter always resisted reading books that have movies, because the movies inevitably don't match the pictures of the characters she forms in her own head, but these do the complete opposite -- they follow the movies and expound on things we've always wondered about, or pondered over the kitchen table. They don't make radical departures; they plug gaps in the story. Once she started with Ahsoka's story, she just kept reading. (And that's a great thing!)
Leia is 16, a young, brash woman who doesn't quite understand how good she's had it, up to this point, as the adopted daughter of Senator Bail and Breha Organa. Although she's 16, and still has to complete her three trials before being ready to become Queen of Alderaan, like her mother, she's still searching for who she's going to be.
Her three challenges are to climb a local peak, join the Apprentice Legislature, and undertake missions of charity and mercy to planets in need. Her first missionary trip exposes Imperial abuses of power and she displays her trademark brilliant outside-the-box problem solving, but the consequences are to bring increasing scrutiny on her parents.
But lately it seems like her parents don't notice her, unless she makes a big mistake, like bringing home 100 refugees. And here she sounds a bit whiny. Ok, more than a bit. Her parents are busy working in the Senate (her father) and throwing cocktail parties (her mother). But they're obviously doing more than just that. Why don't they bring her into their fold and tell her what they're doing??!!
Well, because the universe, under Palpatine, is an increasingly dangerous place. The Empire's reach is long and insidious, and like all good parents, they're trying to shield her from the likes of Moff Tarkin, who shows up at a dinner party unannounced one night.
She's dying to help. She tries in the Apprentice Legislature and the young, idealistic apprentice politicians are manipulated into serving the Empire's nefarious will. It's a crushing blow.
And talking about crushes...there's a young Alderaanian, Kier, who catches her eye, but she must do what's best for Alderaan, first, right?
I won't spoil how this ends, or one of the biggest surprises in the book. Just know, it's a great Star Wars universe read!