Sunday, July 22, 2012

Review: Stargirl (Stargirl, #1) by Jerry Spinelli

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Spoilers?: Ah, yes.

Amazon Synopsis:

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.


I had heard a lot of good things about this book, but hadn’t really wanted to pick it up till now. It reminded me a little of Flipped, which was really good, but isn’t really my style. I tend to go for the mature, romantic ones more often. But I was looking for small, cheap-ish books at the time, and decided to grab it, almost as a last-moment decision. And I’m glad that I did.
Stargirl is about Leo, a normal boy going to a very normal school, and a girl named Stargirl who transfers to that school. She’s been homeschooled until now and is very different. She’s loud and bright and has a pet rat and plays the ukulele and she’s everyone’s cheerleader. The people at school, though, have a hard time accepting all of these things about her.
Leo was kind of sweet. I liked him and Stargirl, until he decided to care so much about what everyone thinks. It wasn’t unexpected, it was always there, but he should have tried more for Stargirl. Instead, he tried changing her, which worked for a while. But no one liked her at that point, and her changing did nothing. And she wasn’t happy. She accepted, pretty easily, that Leo cared much more than she did, and so she let him go. He wasn’t going to change then. Which is especially sad, since I liked them together. They could have worked. I would have liked for them to have worked.
Stargirl was fun. I liked her, and I agreed with her on several points, and she really does make you want to be a better person. I mean, why not pay more attention to people’s birthdays and sing them a song and get them a present secretly? Leave change somewhere to make some kids’ day? Be everyone’s Cheerleader? I loved it all. To see her change, sucked, and to see her upset, sucked even more.
I wasn't expecting them to be in high school. I'd just assumed they were younger than that, and so was pleasantly surprised to find out they were older. There wasn't a lot of physical stuff going on, romantically, but there was more than I expected. And I enjoyed it, especially the little hints it gave that they were messing around; it was done in a really sweet, cute, innocent or nostalgic, way. A little like My Girlfriend's A Geek hinted at the romantic stuff, but in a more innocent way. Of course, I enjoy the more straightforward stuff, but this was nice, too.
The ending was a little upsetting and surprising, since I had expected it to take more a route a la the If I Stay series by Gayle Forman or Just Like That by Marsha Qualey, an ending where the two characters meet up again later. I don’t think this one is like that, and I’m not sure if that makes me happy. I don’t think it does, actually. I do plan to read the next one soon, whenever I can get it.
Throughout this book, I wanted to be inside Stargirl’s head as well, wanted to know what was going on in her mind, and so am looking forward to finding out. I’m unsure what will happen, given that I’m pretty sure her and Leo don’t meet up later (unless the book was lying to me, or it was much later), but want to find out either way.
This is definitely a book that I wold recommend. 

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