Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli

Published April 26, 2013 by Dagmar

stargirlStargirl is magical, just like Stargirl herself. What happens when you meet someone completely different —  someone who does things that no one would ever do, things that draw a lot of attention.  What if that someone doesn’t even care that they’re different?  Would you have the courage to be that person’s friend?  I loved this book and so did my students.

Leo Burlock is in high school.  He’s just like any other kid.  He’s kind of popular, a nice guy.  But, when a new girl, Stargirl, arrives at school, she changes things for him and for everyone.  She brings her ukelele to the cafeteria and serenades people on their birthdays.  She sits down in class and puts a curtain and a vase of flowers on her desk.  She joins the cheerleading squad and cheers for both teams.  Stargirl’s complete innocence catches him by surprise and makes him fall in love with her.  For a time, the entire student body falls in love with her too.  But, then, Stargirl makes a big mistake, and the penalty is huge.  She is shunned by the entire school, and Leo, as her boyfriend, is shunned too.  “And the shunning — it was clear now — had come to me.  It was less absolute for me than for her, but it was there.  I saw it in the eyes that shifted away from mine, the shoulders that turned, the chatter that seemed less loud around me now than before.  I fought it.  I tested its limits.  In the courtyard, between classes, in the lunchroom, I called out to others just to see if they would respond. When someone turned and nodded, I felt grateful.” In desperation, Leo asks Stargirl to change, to be normal.  “She constantly quizzed me about what other kids would do, would buy, would think.”  Stargirl does her best to change for Leo.  “In our minds we tried to pin her to a corkboard like a butterfly, but the pin merely went through and away she flew.”

One comment on “Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli

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