Stargirl #1. Alfred A. Knopf (August 2000) Own
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, Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli weaves a tense, emotional tale about the perils of popularity - and the inspiration of first love.
I sort of read Stargirl a long time ago. It was a reading assignment for a Spanish class in Elementary school. It was a horrible experience. Me and my mother tried to translate the whole book so we would understand. We even got the English version but I still remembering hating it and possibly giving up on it. My mother felt the same way. So years afterwards I finally decided to read it again based on a suggestion. It is by Jerry Spinelli who is one of my favorite authors so I gave it the benefit of the doubt and started reading... and started smiling... and fell in love with the crazy character that is Stargirl. The girl who isn't afraid to be herself. To be goofy and to be fun. To be the most real part of her. The part of her that is in us and that we are told never to let out.
We wanted to define her, to wrap her up as we did each other, but we could not seem to get past "weird" and "strange" and "goofy." Her ways knocked us off balance. A single word seemed to hover in the cloudless sky over the school: HUH?
I really did not see this book coming. It's pretty profound in its own way especially how Archie, the retired Paleontologist who teaches kids everything about life and different topics, talked about who Stargirl is. Stargirl is very much real but she's more in touch with her real her. You know how for 12 years and up how we are told to sit in a chair and listen? Well I have always felt that sitting basically eight hours is not good for you. The way things are being taught are not with imagination either - all that goes away when you have to start studying for the major test at the end of the year. For me it was the dreaded FCAT. Such a waste of time.... My high school finance teacher always said that you need to think. Think for yourselves. And we were really taught otherwise. It's pretty sad but true. Stargirl seems to be the creation of the opposite of this. She lets herself be unabated by others. She isn't bothered or afraid about what other people think. It's refreshing.
She was elusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl. We did not know what to make of her. In our minds we tried to pin her to a corkboard like a butterfly, but the pin merely went through and away she flew
Our narrator is Leo. Just a regular guy who figures out that Stargirl is real pretty quickly. He is fascinated by her yet reserved in those emotions. He's too timid, too embarrassed, and cares too much about what others think. You can tell that whatever he is talking about in the story he is recalling from memory so there is this sort of regret in his voice at times. Wanting to be braver than he was is what he regrets most of all. What I didn't expect because I did not read the summary was that he was going to be the love interest for Stargirl or that she was going to be the love interest for him. There's a certain moment that I know that there is going to start being romance in the story and it made me so excited. Stargirl becomes reachable and more of a tangible person when she is with him. It's nice. Their relationship was utterly adorable. I loved every minute of it. I also love that I get to read more of who Stargirl is in the sequel: Love, Stargirl. It's going to be fantastic.
So who's Stargirl? She's just - Stargirl. She's herself. She is a meditator, a friend to rats, a friend to everyone really, she cares about others and will do the nicest things for them even if they don't like her. She wears what she wants and does what she wants. She cheers for the other team. She's a great role model for kids and this book should be read to all the children of the world. And Leo is a sweetheart even if he was too timid to do what he knew was best. He sincerely cared about Stargirl and I love him for that. I loved hearing about Stargirl through him. This truly is one of those stories you never forget. Sigh... Jerry Spinelli you've done it again.
Overall: Simply fantastic! No complaints. The perfect book for all ages.
For more info about Jerry Spinelli and his books you can visit him at his website. Also, here are some tips if you want to start a Stargirl Society. It's kind of like Pay It Forward.
If you like the sound of Stargirl or would like to read a book by Jerry Spinelli here is the summary of his latest release (January 2013) Hokey Pokey:
Welcome to Hokey Pokey. A place and a time, when childhood is at its best: games to play, bikes to ride, experiences to be had. There are no adults in Hokey Pokey, just kids, and the laws governing Hokey Pokey are simple and finite. But when one of the biggest kids, Jack, has his beloved bike stolen—and by a girl, no less—his entire world, and the world of Hokey Pokey, turns to chaos. Without his bike, Jack feels like everything has started to go wrong. He feels different, not like himself, and he knows something is about to change. And even more troubling he alone hears a faint train whistle. But that's impossible: every kid knows there no trains in Hokey Pokey, only tracks.
Master storyteller Jerry Spinelli has written a dizzingly inventive fable of growing up and letting go, of leaving childhood and its imagination play behind for the more dazzling adventures of adolescence, and of learning to accept not only the sunny part of day, but the unwelcome arrival of night, as well.