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Stargirl #1


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A celebration of nonconformity; a tense, emotional tale about the fleeting, cruel nature of popularity--and the thrill and inspiration of first love. Ages 12+

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. 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.

186 pages, Paperback

First published June 30, 2000

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About the author

Jerry Spinelli

105 books3,626 followers
When Jerry Spinelli was a kid, he wanted to grow up to be either a cowboy or a baseball player. Lucky for us he became a writer instead.

He grew up in rural Pennsylvania and went to college at Gettysburg College and Johns Hopkins University. He has published more than 25 books and has six children and 16 grandchildren.
Jerry Spinelli began writing when he was 16 — not much older than the hero of his book Maniac Magee. After his high school football team won a big game, his classmates ran cheering through the streets — all except Spinelli, who went home and wrote a poem about the victory. When his poem was published in the local paper, Spinelli decided to become a writer instead of a major-league shortstop.

In most of his books, Spinelli writes about events and feelings from his own childhood. He also gets a lot of material from his seven adventurous kids! Spinelli and his wife, Eileen, also a children's book author, live in Pennsylvania.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 16,400 reviews
Profile Image for Emma.
2,992 reviews354 followers
March 2, 2018
Okay, I'm going to say it. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli is a young adult classic (maybe even a children's classic but that's really a cataloguing issue that I am ill-equipped to discuss). This designation raises the question: What makes a book (any book) a classic? For me it means a book that is timeless; something you can read years and years after it was written without the book losing its vibrancy. A classic also needs to have memorable writing and characters. It needs to speak to the reader. It needs to be a book that you enjoy more every time you read it or talk about it. Classics are the books you want to immerse yourself in: the books you wish you could live in with the characters that you wish were your friends.

I'll say it again: Stargirl is a classic.

The story starts with Leo Borlock, who moved to Mica, Arizona at the age of twelve. Around the time of his move, Leo decided to start collecting porcupine neckties--no easy task, especially in Mica. For two years, Leo's collection stood at one tie. Until his fourteenth birthday when an unknown someone presented Leo with his second tie, someone who was watching from the sidelines.

Mica's unusual events don't stop there. The story continues when Leo is a junior in high school. On the first day the name on everyone's lips is Stargirl. Formerly home-schooled, Stargirl is a sophomore like no one Leo (or any of the other Mica students) has ever met before:

"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 corkboard like a butterfly, but the pin merely went through and away she flew."

After finishing this book and recently reading Love, Stargirl (Spinelli's newly released sequel), I have my own explanation: Stargirl is magical. She represents the kind of magic more people need in their lives: to appreciate the little things, to dare to be different, to be kind to strangers. The kind of magic where you still believe things can be wondrous.

In the story, Leo soon realizes that Stargirl might be someone he could love.

Unfortunately, high school students don't always believe in (or appreciate) magic like Stargirl's. As the school moves from fascination to adoration and, finally, to disdain Leo finds himself in an impossible position: forced to choose between the girl he loves and his entire lifestyle.

Technically speaking I love everything about this book: the characters, the story, the cover art. This one has the full package. Spinelli's writing throughout the story is perfect. He captures Leo's fascination with Stargirl as well as his equivocation as he is forced to choose between Stargirl and "the crowd."

Stargirl is not a long book. The writing is cogent, sentences brief. Nonetheless, the text is rich. This book never gets old or boring. Spinelli creates a compelling, utterly new narrative here (with a charmingly memorable heroine).

You can find this review and more on my blog Miss Print
Profile Image for Zoë.
328 reviews65.8k followers
July 21, 2016
I read this in middle school as required reading and absolutely LOVED it, but coming back to it years later, I couldn't help but notice some of its flaws. I got very attached to the story despite it being less than 200 pages and I do love the moral that Spinelli is trying to get across, but I was not a big fan of the characters. Although, with a book this short, exaggerated characters are pretty much a necessity. I recommend this book to everyone, though, especially middle schoolers who feel the need to conform.
Profile Image for Karen.
139 reviews24 followers
July 26, 2008
Very sweet. I had this book lying around and picked it up to give myself a break from the Holocaust Monster I've been chipping away at for the past month, and it definitely did the trick. The kids seem a little innocent - more like elementary school than high school - but dammit why CAN'T there be beautiful and magical teenagers who hold hands at the movies and give their friends cupcakes and valentines? Why do they have to do drugs and have sex and be JERKS all the time?
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews46 followers
November 29, 2021
Stargirl (Stargirl, #1), Jerry Spinelli

Stargirl is a young adult novel written by American author Jerry Spinelli, and first published in 2000.

The word begins with a brief introduction to Leo at the age of twelve, and chronicles his move from his home state of Pennsylvania to Arizona.

Before the move, his Uncle Pete gives Leo a porcupine necktie as a farewell present, inspiring him to collect more like it.

After his collection is mentioned in a local newspaper, Leo receives a second porcupine necktie for his birthday, left anonymously by Stargirl.

The story picks up four years later with the arrival of Stargirl Caraway. Leo learns that up until this point, she has been home schooled, but even that doesn't seem to excuse her strange behavior; for example, she comes to school in strange outfits kimonos, buckskin, 1920's flapper clothes, and pioneer clothes. She is so different that at first the student body does not know what to make of her.

Hillari Kimble, the most popular girl at Leo's school, declares that Stargirl is a fake, and speculation and rumors abound. One of Stargirl's quirks is singing happy birthday to students when it is their birthday, bringing her ukulele to school to do so.

When Hillari orders Stargirl not to sing to her on her birthday, Stargirl sings Hillari’s name but directs the song to Leo and mentions in front of everyone that she thinks he is cute.

Though at first rejected by most of the students, Stargirl gains a measure of popularity by joining the cheerleading squad.

Students mimic her behavior, and at lunch she no longer sits alone. Her antics on the squad spark a boom in audience attendance at sporting events.

تاریخ خوانش روز ششم ماه نوامبر سال2016میلادی

عنوان دختر ستاره ای؛ نویسنده جری اسپینلی؛ مترجم فریده اشرفی؛ تهران، ایرانبان، سال1386، در240ص؛ چاپ سوم سال1390؛ در233ص؛ شابک9789642980055؛ چاپ چهارم در233ص؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده20م

داستان دختری شانزده ساله، مدرسه، بلوغ، نوجوانی، صداقت جوانی، و البته که عاشق عشق نیز هست؛ همان «استار گرل»، که با رفتارش، دبیرستان «مایکا»، در «آریزونای امریکا» را، دگرگون میکند؛ ایشان در لباس پوشیدن، و رفتار، با دیگران تفاوت دارد؛ عاشق یاری رساندن به افراد تنها، و درمانده ی جامعه است؛ رابطه ی او با «لئو»، پسر همکلاسی اش، که همانند او نیست، ارتباطی عاشقاته است؛ او مورد توجه خیلی هاست؛ اما چون متفاوت است، و دگراندیش، عده ای دوستش نمیدارند، و از او میخواهند «همانند همه باشد»؛ اما «استارگرل»، تاب نمیآورد؛ او حق دارد خود خودش باشد؛ اما جامعه ی کوچک مدرسه ی او، چنان رفتاری را نمیپذیرند، و او به ناچار، مدرسه را ترک میکند، در حالیکه جای پایش در بسیاری از رفتارهای دیگران، دیده میشود؛ دختر ستاره ای عاشق صلح است، عاشق عکس گرفتن از «پیتر» است؛ عاشق یاری رساندن برای لانه سازی پرنده هاست و ادامه ی داستان ...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 01/01/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ 07/09/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for emma.
1,866 reviews54.4k followers
February 4, 2022
john green for children

part of a series i'm doing in which i review books i read a long time ago
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,051 reviews1,049 followers
December 18, 2015

"Nothing’s more fun than being carried away."

Stargirl is the happiest, bravest, most carefree, most non-conformist girl you will ever meet. She is everything every school girl wishes she could be but will never dare to be. She does the last thing someone who wants to fit in will ever do.

• She smiles at everyone.

• She dances in the rain.

• She wears the strangest outfit and wears no makeup.

(Not anything like that. I’m exaggerating. Lol.)

• She sings every celebrant a happy birthday with her ukulele.

With a personality like hers, how do you think will she survive high school or better yet, life? Or an even better question is, how will anyone who has known her will survive with or without her? Read the book to find out.^^

What I like most about this book is the simplicity and sincerity of the story including the narrative method as the story is told by Leo (the adult version) who had a firsthand experience of Stargirl’s free-spirited nature when they were teenagers.

The tone of the narrative voice is a blend of both happiness and sadness because the narrator, despite his feelings for Stargirl, was too affected by what other people thought of him and opted to go for majority. But even though he lost that one girl he will never forget, she has carved a permanent mark in the man’s heart.

“"Who are you if you lose your favorite person? Can you lose your favorite person without losing yourself?"

I like how the story eased its way through the end without having to go through dramatic complications and yet still managing to achieve completeness in its theme and plot. It is a non-imposing moralistic story and a very uplifting short read that I'm sure will find a way to spark that starlight in every reader's heart

Recommended to middle-schoolers, teenagers, children, readers who feel young at heart, adults and oh well, everyone!^^

Profile Image for H.
1,203 reviews1 follower
March 30, 2013
I feel conflicted about this book. I liked the message it had about nonconformity and kindness and being yourself and selflessness, but I didn't like Stargirl. I don't know if it's allowed to say I didn't like her, but I didn't. I respect her and admire her, but there's such a thing as being too thoughtful and kind--as in, disregarding someone's feelings--which really makes it thoughtless and not nice at all. Like, the idea of singing to people on their birthdays during lunch. It's a nice idea, but what about people who are painfully shy, or even just regularly shy? I don't think the author's right that we all like some validation and attention--I think if I'd been faced with someone serenading me in the lunchroom in high school I would have either skipped school or skipped lunch, because I would have been beyond mortified. It would have made me sick. I hate attention. But she would have done it anyway. That's what I mean, and I guess that's what bothered me the most about her. I think the goal to be outward-oriented, as in looking beyond ourselves, is very good and something we should all strive for, but I didn't like that she didn't take into consideration people's feelings. There are lots of ways to make people feel validated and special--or to feel that their sorrow is shared, their successes are celebrated, etc.--less flashy ways, but they didn't seem to be a default for her. Also, she was too good, too careless of people's opinions, too saint like, too selfless; I guess to me she felt too perfect, not real. She never felt like she could be a real person, someone I could actually meet one day. Too larger than life. Anyway. I guess I've got to give the book props for making me react so strongly; I certainly didn't come away from it feeling "eh."
Profile Image for Jared.
577 reviews34 followers
March 9, 2008
Stargirl is an amazing book about individuality and nonconformism. A home-schooled girl named Stargirl begins attending the public high school for her sophomore year. Stargirl is different.

She learns everybody's birthdays and on the day of, she sings them a happy birthday song -- accompanying herself on the ukulele -- in the middle of the lunch room, whether they want her to or not. She watches a young boy who lives across the street so that she can create a scrapbook for him without his knowledge. She is, in almost every way, unconventional.

The voice of the book is a young man who becomes fascinated by Stargirl and befriends her, even though many of her antics make her an outcast, otherwise. Through a series of events, she becomes wildly popular, then widely despised. For this boy, she experiments with being conventional for awhile.

The book is fascinating. It explores a lot of issues centered around social conventions and how they play in our lives for good or ill. And they take place at a stage of life when kids are most susceptible to peer pressure. Jerry Spinelli's insights are thought-provoking and engaging. In the end, the book makes you want to be a better person, perhaps in ways that aren't quite "normal." It reminds me of a talk given by Dallin H. Oaks, in which he said, "... This requires us to make some changes from our family culture, our ethnic culture, or our national culture. We must change all elements of our behavior that are in conflict with gospel commandments, covenants, and culture." The genius of it is that the book does this without being particularly preachy.

In its philosophy, and to a lesser extent in its style, the book has strong similarities to Bridge to Terabithia.
25 reviews1 follower
December 3, 2012
I probably had unreasonably high hopes for this book just because of its author. Maniac Magee was my favorite book when I was a kid, and it remains my favorite preteen chapter book to this day. But Stargirl didn't move me the way that first taste of Jerry Spinelli's work did. In fact, I was so underwhelmed that I had little interest in finishing the book, but it was a fast enough read, so I stuck with it.

The execution itself isn't bad. The character of Stargirl could easily have become a paper doll, one of those (usually female) characters who is so untouchable, so up-in-the-clouds perfect that she lacks any sort of dimension and can't be taken seriously. So, I'll give Spinelli that much--he conveys Stargirl's sincerity well. Additionally, she's deep. She has actual reasons for behaving the way she does, and they're actual, complex reasons that involve intelligence and creativity. I appreciated that she got enough floor time to actually explain her reasons for doing things, rather than just being a mysterious saint. Ultimately, though, Stargirl's earnestness can't disguise that she's just another Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

I have to remind myself that most readers of this book will be young enough that they haven't been beaten to death with this tired trope in hundreds of romantic comedy/tragicomedy/dramedy-themed books and movies. Boy--who is nice enough, but a little inhibited, a little in need of some inspiration--meets outrageous, free-spirited, earthy girl who changes his life forever by teaching him to stop caring what other people think and be silly and really live, man. I swear, I thought to myself at the very beginning of the book, "Any minute now, she'll be outside dancing in the rain," and then five pages later, she was outside dancing in the rain.

Some of Stargirl's actions made me uncomfortable, too. I know she's supposed to be the shining, free-spirited light among all the dull, uninspired conformists in the high school drone factory, but just because she has good intentions behind her actions doesn't mean they are all necessarily good ideas. Stargirl goes to a lot of trouble to reach out to people, and she does it without asking for any kind of thanks, but having someone sing "Happy Birthday" to you in the middle of a crowded room or broadcasting your love for someone without talking to them first has always struck me as somewhat inconsiderate. Some people just don't want that kind of attention, and nothing is more traumatic for them than having all eyes in the room on them, completely without their consent. It's true that Stargirl is portrayed as completely innocent, and it's highly possible that she lacks the necessary social filters to understand why being serenaded with "Happy Birthday" isn't always a desired gift, but it made me less sympathetic toward her. It kind of reminded me of those guys who propose to their girlfriends on the Jumbotron at a sporting event--it's arrogant to assume that everyone else wants exactly what you want, and ultimately, regardless of your intentions, it makes the gesture about you, not the other person (while all eyes are on that person, obligating them to behave gracefully even if they're going to pieces inside).

A more succinct way to summarize the last two paragraphs is this: the Stargirl character is inspiring but not original, and the heavy-handed message of Everyone Needs to Lighten Up and Be More Appreciative of Each Other is well-intentioned but shortsighted.

Otherwise, the story was all right. Stargirl might lack social filters, but Leo behaves like a complete ass to her, resulting in the story's somewhat bitter ending. I think this was a fairly realistic portrayal--he cares too much about the approval of the many to show support for the one. And I did appreciate the story's lack of a sugary, upbeat ending in the name of resolution. I like a protagonist with regrets. Leo doesn't seem to have changed much--for all his obsessing over Stargirl after she leaves, one gets the impression that if he got a second chance, he would still care more about fitting in with the crowd than about treating her well--but at least he gets to spend the rest of his life wondering about the one he pushed away. (Even that falls into the MPDG, too-good-for-this-dull-world cliche. Of COURSE he has regret. She's gone, so she'll always be exactly as she was at sixteen and he can idolize her and righteously lament how perfect she was and how stupid he was.) But Stargirl doesn't deserve the shitty way everyone has treated her, and she is probably at her most realistically human when she changes herself out of desire for Leo's acceptance. Likewise, Leo is at his most realistically human when he embraces the "new" Stargirl, then rejects her when she stops conforming. The journey to maturity sucks.

I'm probably taking this all way too seriously. The book was ok; I wasn't as wowed by it as most reviewers seem to have been; I should probably lighten up. But I've given my opinion.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Lauren Shawcross.
57 reviews29 followers
September 15, 2022
I had high expectations for this book, but I was let down in every way. I got so incredibly bored, but I couldn't live with myself knowing I couldn't finish a mere 186 page book, so I plunged onward. By page 80, bookmarking the craziest sentences was the only way I kept myself sane.

I'll try to organize my complaints critiques into a list. Spoilers are not marked, proceed with caution. Not that there's much to spoil about this book.

So, my problems with Stargirl:

1. THIS IS NOT HOW POPULARITY WORKS. Stargirl goes from being popular to unpopular to popular in about two seconds, and when she is shunned, the entire school (except for on person) goes along with it! I understand that Mica High is a small school, but no way in a real school would everyone shun somebody like that. The whole book feels like a grade schooler's imagining of high school.

2. Stargirl is a speshul snowflake- I might even dare to call her a Mary-Sue. She never makes mistakes, the protagonist falls in love with her, and everyone is captivated by her/loves her. Even Archie says that from the moment he met her, he knew she was different. It also sort of seemed like Star was doing all of those antics purely for attention. If she had gone to a school like that in real life, the teachers- not to mention other students!- would have made her stop the bullcrap almost instantly.

3. There is no character development. I guess I should have expected this out of a book so short, but the characters were breathtakingly stagnant. Except for Stargirl, of course- but she went in the opposite direction altogether with her insane, sudden, out-of-character transformation (which was only temporary, but I digress). Aside from that, though, there wasn't even any characterization of her. And I won't even begin to touch on the shallow relationships that were barely there, much less thoroughly explored. (I must keep reminding myself that this is a children's book, and less than 200 pages, so I can't stress about small things in a small book.)

4. The writing is terrible. It was all "I" this, "I" that. The book sort of read like a list. A very redundant list. Has Mr. Spinelli never heard of a comma, or a linking verb? Or an editor?

Now I was feeling sorry for her I sat back down beside her. I took her hand. I smiled. I spoke as gently as I could.

I didn't mention myself. I didn't say do it for me. I didn't say if you don't change you can forget about me. I never said that.

As short as this book is, it took me two days of forced reading to get through what was essentially a giant list. Some of the expressions used are also mad weird. Like this phrase, here:

She faced the mountains, bathed in sun syrup, her face as still and peaceful as I've ever seen a face.

Wtf? Sun Syrup? ....As I've ever seen a face? What the hell?

are you kidding photo: really2nm.gif

5. The message, which is clearly "originality is great" and "be yourself" and all that jazz, was practically shoved down the reader's throat, as painfully as an only-partially-chewed chip fragment, and just as excruciatingly slowly. I get it, Jerry Spinelli. I really don't like it when the message of a book is so painstakingly obvious; I like to have to think. Now I'm not saying a book has to be as cryptic as a crossword or anything, but this book should have just been called "Shoving the merits of originality down your throat."

6. The fact that Stargirl followed people around, made up stories about them, sent them anonymous gifts, and took their pictures sort of left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I understand that the acts were meant to be nice, but that doesn't change how creepy the actions were.

7. This scene:

"He's nuzzling you. He likes you. Especially your ears. He never meets an ear he doesn't love. By the time he's done, that ear of yours will be clean as a whistle. Especially if there's some leftover peanut butter in it."

I could feel the tiny tongue mopping the crevices of my left ear. "It tickles!" I felt something else. "I feel teeth!"

"He's just scraping something off for you. You must have something crusty in there. Have you washed your ears lately?"

sarcastic bill nye photo: sarcastic Issues.gif

Do I even need to explain? (Star's rat was eating the narrator's ear. Yes, straight from the book, word for word, page 82.)

I think I need to move on to a book meant for an older audience. This one killed me. I am dead now.
Profile Image for Michael.
19 reviews16 followers
March 18, 2008
For some weird reason I couldn't put this book down! You should read it. It grabbed my attention and I am a very picky reader! :)
Profile Image for Jasmine.
138 reviews8 followers
March 29, 2009
it was refreshing to read about stargirl's genuine kindness and individuality. i liked it.

we want to dance to the music in our own heads, but we don't because of the looks, whispers and stares we'd get.

stargirl is the person we all want to be, while leo reminds us of the person most of us are.

i hope one day to be as brave as stargirl
Profile Image for Clare.
1,460 reviews307 followers
April 30, 2010

This is one of those rare reads where you can allow your heart to open up wide and let the story sink deep. A series for every teenage girl: just reading it makes you a better person, teaching you to laugh, to listen, to enjoy, to love, to care...

In spite of the attractive eccentricity of the main character, Stargirl is more real than any other book for teens. It is set in the erratic climate of teen emotions, realistically depicted through ordinary events and conversations.

These are presented from a variety of points of view, creating a web of relationships and perspectives that reflects the reality of a life truly lived with others.

We gain a richer understanding of humanity, one that’s not merely theoretical but gained from practice, from emotions stretched and purified through giving. These stories meet you where you are and show you how to be better. They mould character with such a light and breezy style that while aware that you are feeling, you don’t realise that you are learning.

If they could have a spiritual comparison, they are Jacques Philippe in story form, for a younger audience. They teach you how to truly live in the present, sharing your life with others.
Profile Image for Diana | Book of Secrets.
798 reviews596 followers
February 9, 2020
4.5 Stars → Wonderful book about the power and perils of nonconformity! Stargirl is so unique, kind, innocent...indeed too pure for the real world of Mica Area High School. The students love her, until they don't. But she is unfazed. Leo loves her, but with conditions, it seems. I think her greatest friend was not Leo, but Dori Dilson — what a loyal, brave girl, who we didn't learn nearly enough about.

Leo is the narrator for the entire book, which is probably my only complaint. I would love to have gotten inside of Stargirl's head (which I think happens in the sequel), or maybe alternated POVs between Leo and Dori. Overall, a bittersweet & uplifting story. I enjoyed the Southwestern desert setting too. Beautiful descriptions!

{Olathe Public Schools Core Literature List, Grade 7}
Profile Image for Claude's Bookzone.
1,535 reviews216 followers
June 13, 2021
Well that was beautifully sad.

Jerry takes us on an emotional journey in this book about non-conformity and acceptance. Yes it is trope filled. Yes there are plenty of archetypal high school characters. However, the story is all heart. I want to say this is purely a work of fiction, but I have been around long enough to see quite a few Stargirls transform into cookie cutter Barbies. Wonderfully read by the late John Ritter.
Profile Image for Annalisa.
547 reviews1,378 followers
January 27, 2009
Truthfully I did not expect to like this book. I expected a heavily handed tale about acceptance. But here's the thing: I did not like Star Girl.

The story is about a free-spirited girl whose named herself Star Girl who shows up for her first year of public education as a sophomore and the typical apathetic student body doesn't quite know how to respond to her. Normally when I read stories about the quirky outcast, I want to shield them from cruelty of the popular crowd, but I found myself sympathizing with students at a loss of how to interpret this strange girl. When Hillari told Star Girl that she ruined everything, I concurred. And when Star Girl equated being normal with the most popular girl in school I sighed heavily at how little she understood the workings of high school friendship. It never was about blending in and finding common ground with her. She wasn't happy unless she was blazing her own trail without consciousness of who she plowed through in the process.

Having too much personal experience with people who don't understand social cues or possess the mental valve to filter, I know what it's like to be embarrassed by people on social thin ice. I didn't find Star Girl a rare charming bird that should be bottled unaltered. I found her disrespectful and obnoxious. OK, her goodwill was charming, but interrupting a football game to climb the goal post or showing up at a funeral and interfering with the grieving is not. Being different is one thing, but interfering with other's choice to follow social guidelines is just as unaccepting as those who shun anyone who doesn't follow the crowd. There has to be a balance between keeping your individuality and allowing other's to chose theirs, as well as respecting the social proprieties that make people feel comfortable.

I found myself siding with the crowd and I know had I met a girl like that in high school I would have rolled my eyes at her theatrics and ignored her too refusing to allow her to always be the center of attention. I was not sad for her but angry at her for what she did to Leo. To just assume he would make a decision and not give him the means to make amends. This girl created her own drama. I have a feeling the author intended readers to be charmed by Star Girl and experience her social roller coaster on her emotional level, but I didn't. I experienced it from the conforming crowd. And that's exactly why I liked it.
Profile Image for Madeline.
781 reviews47.2k followers
July 11, 2009
"We joined her as she sang 'Happy Birthday' to us in the lunchroom. We heard her greet us in the hallways and classrooms, and we wondered how she knew our names and our birthdays.
Her caught-in-the-headlights eyes gave her a look of perpetual astonishment, so that we found ourselves turning and looking back over our shoulders, wondering what we were missing.
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.
She said there was no television in her house.
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."
Profile Image for Beth A..
675 reviews19 followers
May 2, 2010
I guess my problem with this story was that I really didn’t buy Stargirl. She’s so self-confident/oblivious that she doesn’t seem to notice or care that the whole school is giving her the silent treatment. She’s extremely kind and compassionate. She meditates, wears floor length dresses and carries a rat around in a sunflower bag. She’s the perfect model of a nonconforming individual.

I wanted her to have some flaws. To be secretly worried about being accepted before Leo explained that it’s important. To be nervous before going on the “Hot Seat”. To cry, or scream, or yell unspecified swear words when she was hit in the face with a tomato.

I would have had more respect and admiration for Stargirl if she was an individual in spite of understanding social norms- rather than because she wasn’t aware of them.

I didn’t like Leo much either, although his behavior was more realistic, because when you love someone, you stick up for them, you stick with them, even when it’s tough.
Profile Image for Laura.
99 reviews5 followers
July 12, 2017
Hey, I have an idea, why not tell the story of an interesting girl from the interesting girl's point of view? No, you'd rather have her mansplained by the weenie she bafflingly has a crush on? Cool.
Profile Image for alittlelifeofmel.
888 reviews346 followers
February 8, 2017
Edit: dropped to 2 stars

So I originally DNF'd this book at 75% and gave it a 2 star rating. I decided to just go ahead and complete it because all of the things I didn't like made me curious to see how they would be resolved.

I absolutely detested every single character in this book that wasn't Stargirl herself. They were disgusting, judgmental, and overall shitty people.

I didn't really like the plot either. You're supposed to see how shitty these people treat Stargirl and realize that you can't bully others for being different. But the thing is, I don't think that comes across well in this book. Because the POV is one of the idiots, you just get the sense that it's okay to judge and hate this girl because she's different. So I got the point, it's just not done well.

I maintain my 2 star rating but I am giving it an extra 3 star because I liked the ending. I liked to see the impact that Stargirl had on people and this school and I hope that she did really well for herself in life. I won't be reading the second book because from what I've seen about it I won't enjoy it, and I honestly prefer the life I've imagined Stargirl has after the events of the book.

So it's a 2 star book, but I'm giving it 3 stars for Stargirl.
39 reviews5 followers
March 20, 2008

It started with a necktie. It ended with a necktie. But not just any kind of necktie and not just any kind of girl would give someone a gift with pictures of porcupines.

I really loved this book. REALLY! I did. I HEART Stargirl. Seriously. I’d been meaning to read it for years and like the last book I devoured, after reading the first 2 pages, I couldn’t put it down; so the other books I’d started before this one got pushed aside so I could get lost in her world. This book had me completely mesmerized.

My favorite line: “We discovered the color of each other’s eyes.” (Chapter 9)

Actually, there were lots of lines I loved in that book but that line in that moment when people are starting to take notice and embrace their individuality stands out the most for me.

Of course, my heart broke for Leo. Thirty years later, he still thinks of Stargirl (the girl with many names, by the way); he still wakes up to her laughter (“…a second sunrise to his day.”) I know a lot of people would say this book was too preachy, this book was too unbelievable, this book was too sappy, etc. but I LOVED it so much that I’m thinking of skipping the sequel. I nearly ordered it online last night but part of me wonders if I want to abandon this feeling I have of knowing and loving Stargirl exactly the way she is. Does there really need to be a sequel? Do I need to know more than I already do about these characters? I don’t.

And so, I am moving on with a full heart. Thank you, Stargirl!
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,479 reviews19.4k followers
August 5, 2015
Wow. Wow wow wow. This was my first time ever reading this and I loved it SO MUCH. Such a great story. I'll definitely be rereading this in the future.
Profile Image for Basically Britt.
116 reviews1,848 followers
July 9, 2019
Randomly decided to listen to this in the morning and finished it within a couple of hours!

It's a really cute story! I loved the beginning and end a lot :)
Middle part of the book was okay.

Especially loved the fact that Stargirl loves sunflowers and ukuleles (uhhhh is she me?!)
Profile Image for Jazzy.
202 reviews62 followers
December 19, 2017
Well this was sad. It was good... but a sad ending.
Profile Image for Maddie.
557 reviews1,150 followers
February 18, 2016
This was like reading a John Green book, before John Green books existed. There was just something special about it, that I couldn't quite put my finger on, but I really enjoyed the message behind it!
Profile Image for Jasmin.
361 reviews78 followers
November 17, 2014
Stargirl. This should be the standard for all young adult books. It’s realistic, inspiring and I bet that it’s a story everyone could relate to. Plus, there’s no sex scenes, and just one decent kiss.

The book, is narrated by Leo Borlock’s perspective. He gives us an idea on how different Stargirl could be in a normal person’s point of view. Stargirl, being homeschooled, decides to come out of her shell. She enrolls at Mica High, and fortunately fails to blend in. For odd reasons, such as singing someone she barely knows a happy birthday, she stands out. Her schoolmates couldn’t help but find her odd. One time, Stargirl goes to a football match, which no one almost ever watches. She makes an exhibition of herself, by roaming around the football field (I imagine her like a fairy), until police had to come forward just for her to leave the field. That’s when Mica High attended every game onwards. Stargirl was a sight to watch. She was also recruited to the cheering squad. And again, she gives the readers another dose of her weirdness, by cheering enthusiastically, for everyone (that includes the other team). For others, we might find this hateful (just imagine your cheerleader cheering for the other team), but this proves the depths and lengths of Stargirl's naïvety and pure-heartedness. It’s actually amazing.

Leo, is and always has been amazed by Stargirl. The feeling was mutual, and they become a couple. Leo enjoyed being with Stargirl. He was at peace, but then he noticed that the entire Mica High was shunning him as well. Leo Tolstoy was definitely no island, so he turned sad. He needed Stargirl, but he needed his peers as well. How Stargirl ever manages it, was a wonder to him. And Leo makes a choice. A terrible choice.

And Stargirl, makes a terrible choice as well. She decides to be ”normal”.

All of us are either Stargirls or were Stargirls. Everyone is a star. We are stars, some in little ways, and some in ways that no one can possibly miss them. But the thing is, we have what it takes to be a star. The problem is, how do we deal with the stars lodging in us. Some polishes their star to make it brighter, while some hide in the brightness of other stars to suppress their shine.

After I finished this book, I was left with the same thought as Leo’s:

Is she there? I wonder what she calls herself now. I wonder if she’s lost her freckles. I wonder if I’ll ever get another chance. I wonder, but I don’t despair. Though I have no family of my own, I do not feel alone. I know that I am being watched. The echo of her laughter is the second sunrise I awaken to each day, and at night I feel it is more than the stars looking down on me.

And I have to say, we have to make Stargirls the new normal.
Profile Image for Jennifer Wardrip.
Author 5 books488 followers
May 12, 2008
Reviewed by Me for TeensReadToo.com

Stargirl Caraway is an enigma. She's the type of girl that you either love or hate--with no room for any emotions in between. When she first comes to the high-school as a sophomore in small town Mica, Arizona, her name reverberates throughout the hallways. What kind of a name is Stargirl? Was she really home-schooled for all these years, or did she just magically appear in Mica? How can she seem so calm, so serene, why eating quietly alone in the lunchroom, then strumming her ukulele as if all alone?

The boys in school are immediately struck by her quiet, unassuming beauty. The girls are both jealous of her innate naturalness and excited to have her enthusiasm in the school. For Leo Borlock, it's a mixture of fear and excitement that has him falling in love with the mysterious Stargirl--and a desire to see her on the Hot Seat, the in-school television show he runs with his best friend, Kevin.

The kids at school embrace Stargirl--her quirkiness, her individuality, her enthusiasm and exuberance for everything she does. She discovers friends and cheerleading, and she's popular. Popular, that is, until she starts rooting for the opposition, determined to bring joy and happiness to everyone, not just her home team. Suddenly, she's not the popular girl that everyone wants to be around. The same individuality that was once embraced is now snubbed, literally, by almost everyone in school. Except for Leo, who's in love with the enigmatic Stargirl, a girl who whole-heartedly loves him back.

Until Leo is forced to choose between the affections of an entire school full of classmates and the maybe-too-individual Stargirl. When faced with the choice of one person versus many, Leo might not be strong enough to make the right decision.

Jerry Spinelli has penned a book that goes straight to the heart of wanting to fit in, of sometimes being too good to believe, of life and love and heartbreak and the desire to be different, yet the same as everyone else. STARGIRL is a pure delight, and you won't be able to help being drawn into this very believable story, and it's truly unbelievable characters.
Profile Image for Talia.
888 reviews
June 11, 2008
Stargirl Caraway is the new girl at Mica Area High School, and in her mysterious first days of school, she reveals herself to be a true unique individual. She plays a ukalele! She carries around a pet rat! She gives little gifts and cards to people she doesn't know! Soon, all of the high school cannot resist her charm, and she has the entire community under her spell. But after a while, Stargirl's actions become tiresome, irritating, and the question rises among her peers: why can't she just be normal? Soon, Stargirl is ostracized for all of the wonderful things that make her special. Will Stargirl recover and ever be loved for just being herself?

I loved this book. I cried at the end of the book, partly because the ending was so touching and partly because the story itself was over. I loved Stargirl's character and child-like innocence, I loved the romance between her and narrator Leo, I loved the book on CD read by John Ritter. I haven't been this happy about a book in a long time!

One small note: in high school oratorical contests, the speaker sends in their speech to a committee ahead of time, and cannot deviate from that written speech at the time of delivery.
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