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Stargirl Paperback – May 14, 2002
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"She was homeschooling gone amok." "She was an alien." "Her parents were circus acrobats." These are only a few of the theories concocted to explain Stargirl Caraway, a new 10th grader at Arizona's Mica Area High School who wears pioneer dresses and kimonos to school, strums a ukulele in the cafeteria, laughs when there are no jokes, and dances when there is no music. The whole school, not exactly a "hotbed of nonconformity," is stunned by her, including our 16-year-old narrator Leo Borlock: "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."
In time, incredulity gives way to out-and-out adoration as the student body finds itself helpless to resist Stargirl's wide-eyed charm, pure-spirited friendliness, and penchant for celebrating the achievements of others. In the ultimate high school symbol of acceptance, she is even recruited as a cheerleader. Popularity, of course, is a fragile and fleeting state, and bit by bit, Mica sours on their new idol. Why is Stargirl showing up at the funerals of strangers? Worse, why does she cheer for the opposing basketball teams? The growing hostility comes to a head when she is verbally flogged by resentful students on Leo's televised Hot Seat show in an episode that is too terrible to air. While the playful, chin-held-high Stargirl seems impervious to the shunning that ensues, Leo, who is in the throes of first love (and therefore scornfully deemed "Starboy"), is not made of such strong stuff: "I became angry. I resented having to choose. I refused to choose. I imagined my life without her and without them, and I didn't like it either way."
Jerry Spinelli, author of Newbery Medalist Maniac Magee, Newbery Honor Book Wringer, and many other excellent books for teens, elegantly and accurately captures the collective, not-always-pretty emotions of a high school microcosm in which individuality is pitted against conformity. Spinelli's Stargirl is a supernatural teen character--absolutely egoless, altruistic, in touch with life's primitive rhythms, meditative, untouched by popular culture, and supremely self-confident. It is the sensitive Leo whom readers will relate to as he grapples with who she is, who he is, who they are together as Stargirl and Starboy, and indeed, what it means to be a human being on a planet that is rich with wonders. (Ages 10 to 14) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Part fairy godmother, part outcast, part dream-come-true, the star of Spinelli's novel shares many of the mythical qualities as the protagonist of his Maniac Magee. Spinelli poses searching questions about loyalty to one's friends and oneself and leaves readers to form their own answers, said PW in our Best Books citation. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
Told from the point of view of her boyfriend, Leo, Stargirl is a quick, but emotional read. All teens should read it because pushing others to conform is common in school, but not a good idea. You never know what you might miss that would make your life better when those pushed become (or pretend to be) what you want them to be.
I took off a star simply because about 3/4 of the way through I got tired of living inside the mind of a high school student aching to be accepted by his peers - but otherwise it was fantastic!
I will admit, an hour after reading, that the story as a whole seems predictable; though, that is not the case at all. Plot aside, this book is a fantastic telling of self-worth, and staying true to ones self.
I am well out of high school, and I found this book to be very inspirational. You should never compromise who you are in order to be accepted by your peers. Stargirl exemplified the ideals that many of us have. Everyone wants to be accepted by society regardless of personality and/or physical traits. Should we conform in order to feel more comfortable amongst peers?
I will admit some of the character development is bland; but Stargirl is the focal point. Her personality and quirkiness overrides any flaws this story has. She's the star (pardon the pun; intended!) of this story.
I believe this was the first story where I loathed the narrator. It's also the first first-person narrative I've read where the narrator isn't necessarily the main character.
All in all, Stargirl was a more-than pleasant read. Highly recommended!
And for crying out loud, who doesn't love a girl with an ukulele?