Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

“She laughed when there was no joke.  She danced when there was no music.  She had no friends, yet she was the friendliest person in school.  In her answers in class, she often spoke of sea horses and stars, but she did not know what a football was.”

Stargirl is the new student at Mica High.  She was formerly homeschooled, and when she begins classes at the high school, no one is quite sure what to make of her.  “She has no ego”, Leo, the narrator of this story, says, and it’s true.  Stargirl notices everything: your new haircut, the fact that you made the honor roll, or that your cat ran away from home.  She’s there, with a handmade card and words of encouragement.

She plays her ukulele at lunchtime, carries her rat, Cinnamon, around in her bag, and dresses in far-out combinations of colors and fabrics.  Like I said, Stargirl is special.  However, high schoolers can be cruel.  When she cheers for the wrong team at a basketball game, she is shunned.  No one speaks to her, or even looks at her.  Eventually, that shunning spreads to Leo, who has fallen in love with the effervescent Stargirl.

I won’t tell you what happens in the end, because that would spoil things.  I will tell you that I was just so nervous throughout the whole story! I was afraid Stargirl would cry, or be hurt, or give up her sparkly uniqueness, just to fit in.  None of that happens, though, and the ending makes you realize how the little things make a difference, and being kind goes a long way.  We’re all on the same team, as Stargirl would say.

Happy Reading!

Author’s website: http://www.jerryspinelli.com

Spinelli, Jerry. Stargirl. Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 2000.  186 pp.  Grades 8-11.

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