Written By: Jerry Spinelli
Random House Children's Books
Age Range: Young Adult
Stargirl is a very unique story. It starts with a young boy named Leo who is in high school and he is BENT on trying to fit in, not caring what he has to do or who he has to shun in order to fit in. Then Stargirl comes along and changes everything. She is everything someone in high school tries to avoid; she is ridiculously odd, and different in a way that seems almost otherwordly. She dresses from different centuries and different genres, plays the ukelele to people who have birthdays, makes cards, decorate her desk in class, and above all, doesn't care what other people think. Leo soon falls for Stargirl, but soon discovers that hanging out with her and spending time with her and getting to know her isn't as perfect or as idealized or as easy as he expected to be. Stargirl changes the high school forever, sky-rocketing to popularity for her radical uniqueness, but then she is shunned for things which can't be explained, for being herself and for something that is not her fault. Leo has a hard time choosing between who he wants to be and who everyone else wants him to be. He and Stargirl go through several different experiences together which help them to discover that perhaps popularity isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Who would benefit from reading this book?
This book is definitely a coming of age story and anyone, male or female around the age of 12 turning thirteen, would appreciate this book. It teaches important lessons that may not be able to be learned or absorbed any other way. It shows that it's okay to be different and that life goes on and that you don't need people's approval to be who you really are.
What problems do you see this book causing?
This book could go either way; the kids reading it could be on stargirl's side, rooting for uniqueness or wishing she'd just stop what she was doing and try to fit it. The kids at the high school get to be particularly cruel and berating and some younger audiences might not like the content.
What was your reaction to this book?
This book was wonderful. I liked how it accurately portrayed the reaction of high school students, even though it might not have been very flattering. I think it's important for all people to understand what they are capable of and what you yourself are capable of.