Book Review | Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

This was another book that popped up while I was perusing Goodreads for my next read. It suggested Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli as other people had read it after reading other books I was looking at. The simplistic cover drew me in and I had to know more.

I read the sample and the existing reviews and I grabbed a copy straight away. It’s aimed at the young adult market and really (I think) should be required reading for all school kids. Hell, I think most adults could learn something from reading it too.

The story Mister Spinelli weaves is thoroughly engaging and I read it almost in one sitting (other commitments got in the way). Within the 200 pages you can’t help but love the main characters and root for them along the way.

The Blurb:

Stargirl. From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, the hallways hum with the murmur of “Stargirl, Stargirl.” She captures Leo Borlock’ s heart with just one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with just one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. At first.

 Then they turn on her. Stargirl is suddenly shunned for everything that makes her different, and Leo, panicked and desperate with love, urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her: normal. In this celebration of nonconformity, Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli weaves a tense, emotional tale about the perils of popularity and the thrill and inspiration of first love.

Narrated from the point of view from Leo where he describes the first day of the new girl at school. Stargirl as she’s known is an enigma. Totally unlike any of the everyday, cookie-cutter students who go about their day, Stargirl is a whirlwind, tornado even. Her attitude to life and her quirkiness keeps people at bay for a while, all unsure what to make of her.

Slowly she wins the approval of the student body and the whole attitude of the school changes. People are suddenly are embracing their wild side and being more like her.

Of course there’s the inevitable backlash, where they turn on her. Leo is conflicted, being in love with Stargirl but also wanting the approval of the other students.

What follows is a heartfelt, heartbreaking, uplifting tale of Leo and Stargirl as they navigate life. There are life lessons to be learnt without the author coming across as preachy, and I think we could all do with being more like Stargirl.

Mister Spinelli has quite an extensive back catalogue which I’ll be checking out for other books to add to my “To Read” shelf. When my kids are old enough I’ll be making them read this one for sure.

TL;DR Version

Do yourself a favour and read this book. I can’t recommend it enough.

Read a sample of Stargirl from Amazon today.