Thursday, December 3, 2009

Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli

I remember that last year (before this blog) I read a couple Jerry Spinelli books and really enjoyed them. For some reason I haven't read anything else by him in quite a while, but I found this book of his on the library's YA shelf. It was of a thin length, so I knew it would be an easy read. I basically based my decision for checking out a book on whether the synopsis on the back or the inside flap told a good story that would hook me in. And this book certainly did that trick.

Like The Rule of Won, this book takes place in the regular world of high school students, no fantasy or sci-fi elements whatsoever. On the first day of school, a strange new girl no one has seen before shows up and blows their minds away! Why, you ask? Because she's crazy! Incredibly friendly to perfect strangers, genuinely kind and caring, spontaneous, and a joy to be around. She absolutely does not believe in peer pressure. Other ways that she is different: She dresses in weird costumes, she brings her pet rat to school with her, she plays the ukulele (which she uses to sing Happy Birthday to whoever's birthday it is on any given day. Yeah, somehow, she knows everybody's birth dates) and at school games, she cheers for the other team as well as her own!

Her name, oddly enough, is Stargirl. This actually isn't her given name, but she claims that she likes to wear names like articles of clothing, and she replaces them when they don't fit anymore, so this time she calls herself Stargirl. At the start, everyone loves Stargirl and she becomes the most popular girl in school, because she's so honest and not fake, and gives off such a good energy. But then the kids find a reason to strongly dislike her different-ness, even hating her for it, so they collectively shun her. But Stargirl doesn't seem to care, either way. She just goes about business as usual.

The boy who narrates this story in the first person gets lucky enough to be Stargirl's boyfriend, and he loves every kooky thing about her. But when Stargirl starts getting ignored, so does he. Everyone stops talking to him, acknowledging his existence. He can't have both Stargirl and his friends, so how could he choose? Will it be possible for him to turn innocent Stargirl... normal?

This story seemed to have a pretty powerful message about nonconformity, and breaking the status quo. If anyone can take a leaf out of Stargirl's book, it seems that overall they'd be much happier, and more grateful to be alive every day. It's fun to do crazy, unpredictable things. At least, it's fun reading about it, but it makes you wish you could be brave enough to do those wacky things. But being human, aren't we already all crazy, in our own special way? Give this book a read. I think you'll enjoy it.

1 comment:

Priya said...

I remember reading this book a couple of years ago! It was entertaining.