Susan Caraway is a VERY unusual girl. She wears long, lacy, granny-style
dresses. She plays a ukulele out on the school lawn, and doesn't seem
to care if people are laughing and staring. She sings Happy Birthday
to everyone on their birthday, even for people she's not friends with.
Probably strangest of all is the fact she calls herself STARGIRL.
When Stargirl shows up at Mica High School in Arizona, no one knows
what to make of her. Is Stargirl crazy? Is she even for real? The fact
that she's been home-schooled can't quite explain Stargirl's weirdness.
The other students initially keep their distance from this crazy chick.
But after a while, Stargirl's generosity, kindness, and enthusiasm begin
captivating hearts, including the heart of the book's narrator, Leo
Borlock. At lunchtime, a flock of students gathers around Stargirl's
table. She even becomes a cheerleader, and cheers so energetically that
the traditionally apathetic students at Mica High School begin to attend
basketball games and eventually start to believe that they can win the
championship. That is, however, until Stargirl begins cheering for the
other team... an action far too strange and generous to be acceptable.
Hence, Leo Borlock asks Stargirl to conform and be normal like everyone
else at Mica High School. She begins to dress and act like every other
girl at Mica High. When she realizes that she cannot be happy as a "normal",
stereotypical high school student, she decides to become STARGIRL again.
Stargirl is a book about being proud of who you are. It is a
story about individuality versus group-think. It's about inspiration
and love, and a reminder to be generous, to make person-to-person connections.
It's a poetic riff set in a dry, dusty desert. It is also about one
of those special types of friendships that come along only once in a
rare while. In this book, you'll meet a cast of characters you'll never
forget. A girl who saves the blonde hairs she finds on her pillow to
give to birds for their nests. A boy who collects porcupine neckties.
A paleontologist who gets advice on the most serious issues from...a
cactus named Senor Saguaro.
Teachers will find Stargirl to be a delightful addition to their
curriculum as it is a highly enjoyable and readable novel. Students
will no doubt engage in spirited discussions involving such diametrically
opposite ideas as conformity/nonconformity, individuality/community
and punishment/forgiveness. Jerry Spinelli has created a character like
no other in Stargirl, for which he deservedly won the YALSA Best Books
for Young Adults award in 2001. Stargirl is sure to become a
modern classic within young adult literature.
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