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Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

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Stargirl, in the book “Stargirl”, by Jerry Spinelli, is different. Really different. From the second she sets foot in Mica High School, wearing a long old-fashioned dress, and carrying a pet rat in a sunflower canvas bag, she is greeted by stares and whispers, but she did not seem to notice.
She was thoughtful and kind. She took delight in throwing change on the sidewalk, just so she could see the smiles on children’s faces, as they found it. She gave cards, always handmade, to people she barely knew; she delivered balloons; she sung and played her ukulele on birthdays.
A girl, named Hillari Kimble, warned Stargirl not to sing to her, on her birthday. She didn’t want people to stare. She wanted Mica High to remain the same, the way it was without Stargirl. The way no one appreciated the small things people did. The way she was boss.
Stargirl sang it to Leo Borlock instead, because he ‘was cute’. That was the beginning of their relationship. Stargirl showed him the little things that no one noticed, but yet were so beautiful, she took him to her ‘enchanted place’ and there showed him how to become one with the world, how to become nothing. “And then, if I do a good job, I’m erased. I’m gone. I’m nothing. And then the world is free to flow into me like water into an empty bowl.”
Stargirl was more normal than Leo, and the other students, realized. As Leo said, “That was no saint kissing me.” She had hopes and dreams and feelings just like everyone else. As she later showed Leo her pebble full of wagons represented her feelings. If she was happy, she put a pebble in. If she was sad she took one out.
She invented fun games, like ‘a card game’, in which you follow people around, and find out what card they need, like a keep-your-chin-up card.
Stargirl was loved, hated and ignored, during the course of the book. Her boyfriend, Leo told her to change, to become normal, to become “Susan” because, he was torn between Stargirl, and them. She agreed, but she couldn’t do it for long. In a while, she was back to Stargirl.
She made people feel appreciated, to feel, like they were being noticed. She cheered for the other team. She did not care who was winning, or losing, she just wanted everyone to have a good time.
Stargirl was the epitome of individuality. She did things no one did. She could do things others could not. ‘I peeked. I knew I wasn’t supposed to, but I did. Clearly, she had erased herself. She was gone. She was serenity. Her lips faintly smiling. Her golden skin. The glowing thread-ends of her hair. She seemed to have been dipped in sunlight and set here to dry. I felt a pang of jealousy, that she could be sitting next to me and not know it. That she could be somewhere most wonderful and I could not be there, too.’
Stargirl made Mica High School, a better place. A place where the students had school spirit, who cheered for each other, who cared about each other…
Stargirl brought out the individuality of others. As Leo said, “Kids whose voices had never been heard before spoke up in class. ‘Letters to the Editor’ filled a whole page of the school newspaper’s December edition. More than a hundred students tried out for the Spring Revue. One kid started a camera club. Another wore Hush Puppies instead of sneakers. A plain, timid girl painted her toenails Kelly green. A boy showed up with purple hair.”
Stargirl was unique. She changed people, she helped people, she lived for people. She didn’t have an ego. She helped people become who they truly wanted to be. She was unbelievable. She was a miracle.



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thebushhippie said...
Aug. 6, 2010 at 3:46 pm:
I have read the book Stargirl and I really appreciate the honest way in which you wrote this review. Amazing! For those of you who fell in love with Stargirl (such as myself) you should definetly read Love, Stargirl which is also by Jerry Spinelli. Both books are wonderful.
 
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