Book: Stargirl

"Stargirl"

Stargirl. She’s as magical as the desert sky. As strange as her pet rat. As mysterious as her own name. And she captures Leo Borlock’s heart with just one smile.

But when the students of Mica high turn on Stargirl for everything that makes her different, Leo urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her: normal. In a celebration of nonconformity, Newberry Medalist Jerry Spinelli weaves a tense, emotional tale about the perils of popularity–and the inspiration of first love.

I’ve received a lot of recommendations for this book. And it’s strange how long it took me to get to this book. But I’ve read it now, and wow, I can understand now why people keep recommending this book.

Stargirl is one of a kind. And I’m not just saying that about the character. The book is also one of a kind. The way it handles the issue of conformity, of popularity, of doing one’s best to carve their own identities while also fitting in with everyone else.

The book is a memoir of sorts. Of a time gone by. Of a girl who could have been, but never was. Of being innocently mean, and unapologetically naive. And our main character, Leo, doesn’t shy from pointing out the mistakes he made–of the things he did that ruined the possibility of a happily ever after for him. And it’s refreshing.

It’s an honest look at what it’s like to be a teen. Or, at the very least, of how our character saw himself as a teenager. I’m almost thirty now, and this is how I remember myself when I was younger. Feeling on top of the world. Feeling loved. Feeling the crushing humiliation whenever I became the center of unwanted attention. Feeling the burning despair of being pointedly ignored by people whose approval you want.

We all wanted to be liked. And that’s what the book is about. That’s what the book underlines, by introducing a character who doesn’t care what other people think of her. And it shows us how impressions and the need for approval can either stunt our emotional growth, or make us better people.

Stargirl is a wonderful book that would fit very well in high school libraries. To remind teens that the world will judge you, that the world will force you to conform into societal molds that are deemed acceptable–that you might grow into a person you don’t actually like…but that you have the power to change what you don’t like.

That in the end, what’s important is that you like yourself.

Now, let’s see what other people have to say about Spinelli’s Stargirl:
The Geek Girl Project
Readers by Night
Build Enough Bookshelves

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