Wednesday, January 4, 2012

MG Book Review: Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli

General Information
Publisher:  Alfred A. Knopfs (Random House) / Scholastic
Year of publication:  2000
# of chapters:  33
# of pages:  186
Genre:  Contemporary
Plot summary:  from enotes

Positive Points
Stargirl is a fascinating character! I couldn't stop reading to find out what she'd do next.  Totally unpredictable. She reminded me of a friend of mine in high school who was very unique, and so much fun to be with.

The theme is about being true to yourself, as opposed to following the crowd.  Love it!  Each one of us had to deal with that as a kid, at some point.  Should I be unique or try hard to fit in?  Will they like me if I'm really "me"?  The two extremes are shown in this book: most students do everything like people normally do, like they've always done, and Stargirl doesn't care what people think and dares to be unique.  People's reactions to her are just as interesting.  They go through different stages: they can't believe what they're seeing at first, then they like her, then they don't.

Stargirl is selfless. She has no ego. That's another thing I found fascinating about her. She doesn't care what people think of her, but she does care about people. She gives of herself to others, regardless of whether they like her or not, totally unconditionally, and often anonymously.

I love the writing style.  The plot flows smoothly and there's a good balance between description and action.  Great writing overall.

Negative Points
Hmm... I wonder what would happen if everyone followed Stargirl's path and started dressing up in unusual clothes and play ukulele during lunch.  We might have to rethink the current school system a little.  Stargirl kind of pushes this "uniqueness" theme to an extreme.  But that's what made this book so fascinating in the first place. The chances of crossing paths with someone like her in real life are very slim, but in a book, everything is possible.  So it's not really a negative point, but I really couldn't find anything else to say in this section.

What makes this book unique
Well, the main character, obviously! The POV is from a secondary character, Leo, observing Stargirl. Kind of like Dr. Watson relating Sherlock Holmes' adventures and playing a minor role in the story. Leo sounds like a regular kid, preoccupied about what people think of him, but intrigued enough to become close friends with Stargirl regardless.  I wonder how Stargirl would have told the story. Probably in a totally different way.

Overall Impression
Great read! I would say this book is for older MG (10-12) because of some mild romantic elements and the theme, which tweens and teens could relate with more easily. The story takes place in high school, and Amazon has it classified as YA (12 and up), but I found it in the MG section of the library. Hmm... Kind of on the border between MG and YA.

I just found out there's a sequel, LOVE, STARGIRL (2007), which is a very long letter from her relating her life after she left Mica High School.

My Rating:

Thinking of purchasing this book? I'll make it easy for you:


Jenna Cooper said...

This book was popular when I was in middle school, but I never picked it up, though I always wish I did. But I guess it's never too late, right? :)

Annie McMahon said...

Right, Jenna. Never too late! Thanks for visiting my blog! :)

bfav said...

I heart Spinelli. I've been meaning to read this, thanks for reminding me.

Annie McMahon said...

You're welcome, Brooke! Can't wait to read what you think about it, if you review it on your blog.

Anonymous said...

Haven't heard of this book, but really like the sound of it. Great review Annie:)

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