Preeti's Reviews > Stargirl

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
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Nov 28, 11

bookshelves: favorites, ya
Read in November, 2004

As asked by bookreporter.com, would you turn your back on yourself in the name of approval and popularity?

Yet another extraordinary YA book for the collection. This one explores the intricacies of conformity and how far one can stretch the limits within a high school environment.

Stargirl Caraway enters Mica High and blows everyone away with her uniqueness, or, more accurately, her weirdness. She dresses in anything from kimonos, to pioneer outfits, to flapper-era dresses and everything in between. She brings her pet rat to school with her everyday. She walks around the lunchroom, strumming her ukelele and singing to people.

Nobody knows what to make of her:

"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. We did not know what to make of her. In our minds we tried to pin her to a corkboard like a butterfly, but the pin merely went through and away she flew."

The book is written from the point of view of Leo Borlock, a student at Mica High. At first, he observes her from afar, like the others, struggling to define her, to make sense of her. Before he knows it, he becomes immersed in her world.

Stargirl succeeds in turning the world of Mica High upside down. When wondering about her out loud, comparing her to a different species, the answer comes: "On the contrary, she is one of us. Most decidedly. She is us more than we are us. She is, I think, who we really are. Or were."

That's what I loved about this book - the writing is extraordinary. It's simple language, but put together just right, it seems enchanting. I want Stargirl to be my best friend. She breaks all the conventions and norms that are locked into place by society, but she doesn't even realize. She is, as was quoted, us, without the fetters, without the chains. Simply, unequivocally us.

[Sidenote: This was written by the author of Maniac Magee, which I read ages and eons ago. From what I can remember, that was a great book too. Might have to go read that again.]
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