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Jerry Spinelli – Stargirl

August 15, 2008

99. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (2000)

Length: 191 pages

Genre: Young Adult

Started: 14 August 2008
Finished: 15 August 2008

Summary: Leo Borlock is an average guy in an average Arizona high school. Until the day that Stargirl Caraway comes to school. She’s unlike anyone that any of the Mica High students have ever seen; she gives ukulele concerts during lunchtime, leaves anonymous greeting cards in the mailboxes of strangers, and cheers enthusiastically for both teams at the basketball games. Leo quickly falls for her, but how long can such individuality last in a typical high school?

Review: What a slim, sweet little book! The average-boy-falls-in-love-with-unique-and-life-changing-girl plot reminded me very strongly of John Green’s excellent Looking for Alaska. The message and tones are very different, but they’re both very charming and heartfelt, and both have incredible (if different) voices. Looking for Alaska‘s best quality was how real it felt; Stargirl doesn’t feel particularly real, but instead more like a magical and slightly fantastical fable. This is helped by the fact that Jerry Spinelli can turn a creative and unique metaphor like nobody’s business. I didn’t quite fall into this story, didn’t fully identify with Leo, but I still thought it was a magical little fable that should be read by the popular and the unpopular, the conformists and the non-conformists, young and old… and let’s all go out and re-claim a little of our individuality. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: A lovely and charming book, more than well worth the time it takes to read.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

First Line: When I was little, my uncle Pete had a necktie with a porcupine painted on it.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. August 16, 2008 11:50 am

    I enjoyed this book, too. In fact, I bought a whole class set of it (and then quit teaching a year later; I donated the books to the school). Will you be reading the sequel, or will you let Stargirl stand on its own? You know, I wish I had a copy with me to re-read (it must be in my boxes of books in Ohio); I loved Stargirl. She was so wonderfully quirky.

  2. August 16, 2008 10:11 pm

    Y’know, I didn’t even know there was a sequel until just now.

    I don’t think it’s a rush-out-and-buy kind of book, but if I see the sequel in a used book store, I will definitely pick it up.

  3. gyma permalink
    August 17, 2008 5:07 pm

    I read this book several years ago and loved, loved, loved it. I was working as a children’s librarian at the time and would recommend this book every chance I got. I also didn’t know there was a sequel since I’ve since retired and am reading more adult books these days.

  4. August 17, 2008 5:33 pm

    I love YA lit, but for some reason this book flew under my radar. I’ll have to look into Stargirl. Thanks for the review.

  5. August 17, 2008 6:49 pm

    gyma – if you’ve been away from the YA scene for a while, I would highly recommend John Green’s Looking for Alaska, particularly if you loved Stargirl.

    Ruth – I had heard some buzz about it on the LibraryThing boards, but had never paid too close attention – Jerry Spinelli to me meant Maniac Magee from when I was in grade school. I saw Stargirl at the used bookstore for $0.50, so I figured it wasn’t a particularly large time or money investment if I didn’t like it… which fortunately I did!

  6. August 26, 2008 10:50 am

    Loved this book. Completely been moved by Stargirl way of “being herself”.

    (a little comment from Paris, France)

  7. August 26, 2008 1:33 pm

    lanymphette – Welcome! I agree… it’s such a little book to be so powerful!

  8. September 24, 2008 6:51 pm

    I really like your review!! Thanks for letting me know about it :)

  9. ME MYSELF AND I permalink
    October 14, 2008 9:23 pm

    The sequel is “Love, Stargirl” i didnt finish stargirl but can someone tell me what the book is about i dont want to read it

  10. Justa permalink
    November 23, 2008 9:51 am

    i really disliked this dumb book it made no sense and was stupid i really really gate it

  11. Carly permalink
    February 10, 2009 8:27 pm

    What is the Genre of the book Stargirl

  12. Olivia permalink
    July 3, 2009 10:49 pm

    Stargirl was an amazing book. I dont read much.. except for the Twilight Sega. But I have a summer reading list for school and alot of people recommended this one. I never wanted to put iy down and i actually read it in 24 hours! Thats a record for me! I was upset at the ending and wanted to know soo much more about star girl. Cant wait to read the sequal!

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