Saturday, September 11, 2010


By Jerry Spinelli

"She was homeschooling gone amok." "She was an alien." "Her parents were circus acrobats." These are only a few of the theories concocted to explain Stargirl Caraway, a new 10th grader at Arizona's Mica Area High School who wears pioneer dresses and kimonos to school, strums a ukulele in the cafeteria, laughs when there are no jokes, and dances when there is no music. The whole school, not exactly a "hotbed of nonconformity," is stunned by her, including our 16-year-old narrator Leo Borlock: "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."

Stargirl is one of those rare novels that speaks to the individual in all of us. The person who notices strange things and revels in it, the person who acts without fear, the person who doesn’t let the ‘crowd’ tell you who you are. Stargirl was one of the best reads I’ve had in a long time. I really wish I’d read it in high school. It’s told from the point of view of Leo, a boy who sees the spectacular in a girl who isn’t afraid to be herself. Leo represents so many people who conform to society’s expectations only to let the truly special slip through his fingers. It’s a coming of age novel that will warm your heart and help you be a little braver about being yourself with no limits.

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