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Stargirl Mass Market Paperback – May 11, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 1,362 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Stargirl Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"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 the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Part fairy godmother, part outcast, part dream-come-true, the star of Spinelli's latest novel possesses many of the mythical qualities as the protagonist of his Maniac Magee. As narrator Leo Borlock reflects on his junior year in a New Mexico high school, Stargirl takes center stage. Even before she appears at Mica High, Spinelli hints at her invisible presence; readers, like Leo, will wonder if Stargirl is real or some kind of mirage in the Sonoran Desert. By describing the girl through the eyes of a teen intermittently repulsed by and in love with her, Spinelli cunningly exposes her elusive qualities. Having been homeschooled, Stargirl appears at Mica High dressed as a hippie holdover and toting a ukulele, which she uses to serenade students on their birthdays; she marks holidays with Halloween candy and Valentine cards for all. As her cheerleading antics draw record crowds to the school's losing football team's games, her popularity skyrockets, yet a subtle foreboding infuses the narrative and readers know it's only a matter of time until she falls from grace. For Leo, caught between his peers and his connection to Stargirl, the essential question boils down to one offered to him by a sage adult friend: "Whose affection do you value more, hers or the others'?" As always respectful of his audience, Spinelli poses searching questions about loyalty to one's friends and oneself and leaves readers to form their own answers. Ages 12-up. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 590L (What's this?)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Laurel Leaf; Reissue edition (May 11, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440416779
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440416777
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,362 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #428,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brett Benner VINE VOICE on November 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I could only wish I was as brave and as overwhelmingly generous as the magical girl the book is named after. Told from the perspective of sixteen year old Leo, who falls under her charms like the rest of Mica High School, it is a wistful, heartfelt, and bittersweet narrative that ultimately packs a gentle but firm emotional punch.
This book should be required reading for adults young and old for it's ringing endorsement of individualism.It reminds us that like Stargirl it's okay to be different, that sameness is boring, and that we should all, as Will Shakespeare once said,"To thine own self be true."
At just under two hundred pages it can almost be tackled in one sitting. A perfect gift for someone who may not feel that they totally belong, or that their being different is a bad thing, or simply to be gently reminded that acceptance starts from within.
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Format: Hardcover
Originally I borrowed this from the library. Halfway through it I bought my own copy, and one for my niece.
This is a story about a girl called Stargirl. She has been home tutored for most of her life and has no idea of conformity. She is herself, through and through. She wears pioneer type dresses, no make up, meditates, knows peoples birthdays, makes people feel good about themselves.
At the start the majority of the school applauds her individuality and even flatters her when they copy her odd ways. But slowly they see her individuality as a hindrance and begin to turn on her. Leo, the 16 year old narrator of the book finds himself as her boyfriend, and as such is completely alienated from the rest of the school. It dawns on him that he has to choose, Stargirl or his friends and respect.
This is probably one of the best books I have read for an awful long time, and I read a lot of books! I am keeping my copy on my bookshelf for my children to read, to teach them to applaud individuality, not discourage.
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Format: Hardcover
Who couldn't love Stargirl? She is the new girl in school who's a bit different than everyone else. She carries her pet rat to school, brings her ukelele, and wears period clothing her mom sews. But more importantly she is possibly the kindest person ever written about. She celebrates holidays by giving everyone in her homeroom a treat, and leaves greeting cards for people, and sings Happy Birthday to them. At first her popularity soars and she even becomes a cheerleader. Unfortunately the very thing that made her popular turns all the students on her... herself.
One boy, the narrator is more caught up with her than anyone else. He befriends her and the two even date. But soon he can't stand the peer pressure and asks Stargirl to change. I have to admit that was really hard to read because I like the narrator but Stargirl shouldn't have to change! If it weren't for endless positivity some of the book would be too tough to get through.
I really love the ending. I think it ended exactly the way it should. Not the best for everyone but the best for Stargirl. Perhaps everyone in the story learns their lesson about conforming individuals and I think the reader will too.
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Format: Hardcover
Many many years ago, our house had a lot of Jerry Spinelli's books in it. Not only that, but some of them were autographed -- my children attended a school near where he lives and he visited their school several times. They were always entranced by him and by his books.
Lo and behold, walking through a store the other day, "Stargirl" called out to me. The cover was the hook and after reading the jacket copy, I decided that it was a book I had to have. I talked to my niece that night and she told me it was a very special book and she was glad that I and bought it!
So am I! What a totally delightful story of someone who is different...and not afraid to be that way. What a role model Stargirl can be for so many kids today. This book sends a really good message about being your own person and true to yourself....yet it does not gloss over the hurt that may result from being this kind of person.
I thought the characters in this story were finely wrought and the story itself spun out in an almost magical way. I also liked that the author wrote an unpredictable ending.
I would recommend this for young adults---of all ages!
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A Kid's Review on March 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Are you looking for a good book to read? If you are you should consider reading Stargirl. It is a wonderful book for adults and children and always leads to new problems. I think this book teaches you a great lesson about life and how you look at people. This interesting book is by Jerry Spinelli, a newbery medalist. He has written many books such as Wringer, Maniac Magee, Crash, and Knots in my Yo- Yo String. This book takes place in Arizonia and is about a very interesting girl, named Stargirl. She comes to Mica Area High School in eleventh grade and is not like everyone else. She is different by she wears different clothes and acts differntly. Also she is a cheerleader and at games she is always cheering for other teams. Stargirl has a pet rat named, Cinnamon who is always on her shoulder. Also she sends people birthday presents she doesn't even know. She has a friend named, Archie who has classes for kids at his house. He is a great person and teaches Leo, the narrator alot about Stargirl. Stargirl falls in love with Leo Borlock. Leo has feelings for her too, but he is afraid he will become unpopular if they get together. They go tot the mall, ride bikes and do a lot of stuff together, but at school they are distance. The question is, "Whose affection does he value more hers or the others?" Well if you are going to read this book you will find out the answer to this question.
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