Stargirl: A Book Review

Stargirl  by Jerry Spinelli

This story is written from the point of view of  Leo Borlock, who retells the story about a memorable year of high school.  The year that changes everything for Leo and the students at Mica High School.  I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Book Summary (via www.bn.com):

Leo Borlock follows the unspoken rule at Mica Area High School: don’t stand out—under any circumstances! Then Stargirl arrives at Mica High and everything changes—for Leo and for the entire school. After 15 years of home schooling, Stargirl bursts into tenth grade in an explosion of color and a clatter of ukulele music, enchanting the Mica student body.

But the delicate scales of popularity suddenly shift, and Stargirl is shunned for everything that makes her different. 

In this story about the perils of popularity, the courage of nonconformity, and the thrill of first love, an eccentric student named Stargirl changes Mica High School forever.  Somewhere in the midst of Stargirl’s arrival and rise and fall, normal Leo Borlock has tumbled into love with her. 

In a celebration of nonconformity, Jerry Spinelli weaves a tense, emotional tale about the fleeting, cruel nature of popularity—and the thrill and inspiration of first love.

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So I’m 12 years behind…..how did I miss this book?  I absolutely, positively loved it!  In my plans to do a book study with classes in another state I discovered this gem of a book.  I read it while my students were taking our standardized writing test (about 3 hours), and asked my co-workers at least three times if they’d read the book.  I know they rolled their eyes at me each and every time when they said “No”.

This book teaches a wonderful lesson about individuality and putting yourself before others – qualities that are frequently missing these days.  It also gives a verrrry realistic view of peer pressure and “mean girls”.  I don’t want to give the book away – but I was shocked at the behavior of these students, although I really shouldn’t have been.  I kept waiting and waiting for them to turn it around….but they didn’t.

A Favorite Quote:

“Anchovies, ugh,” I said……….”How can you eat them?  Nobody eats anchovies.” I was sort of kidding, but her face was serious.  “Nobody?”……”She pushed my hand away.  She dropped the last anchovy into the glass. “I don’t want to be like nobody.”

I was definitely left with a hole in my heart, I wanted things to work out for Stargirl and Leo (I’m a sucker for a love story with a happy ending) but in all honesty it’s a better picture of what the real world is like.

If you haven’t read it – READ IT!  If you have read it – READ IT AGAIN!  And definitely read it to your students….and talk about tolerance…..and being yourself.  Being ourselves is what makes this world go round.

Until the next time…..

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