BONUS BOOK: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

“It was wonderful to see, wonderful to be in the middle of: we mud frogs awakening all around. We were awash in tiny attentions.”

Genre: Fiction, Bildungsroman

Book Jacket Synopsis: “Stargirl. She’s as magical as the desert sky. As strange as her pet rate. As mysterious as her own name. And she capture Leo Borlock’s heart with just one smile. But when the students of Mica High turn on Stargirl for everything that makes her different, Leo urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her: normal. In celebration of nonconformity, Newberry Medalist Jerry Spinelli weaves a tense, emotional tale about the perils of popularity – and the inspiration of first love.”

Review: If I think back to my childhood, few books moved me as much as those written by Jerry Spinelli (two in particular: Crash and Stargirl). When I first read Stargirl, I felt like I had discovered one of the world’s best-kept secrets. I remember cherishing the book, reading certain sections over and over again, grappling with the unexpected feelings of melancholy that settled over me at the end of each reading. And somehow, inexplicably, I forgot about this book. It was only recently, through my job at a bookstore, that I came across a copy of Stargirl on our shelves and was reminded of my earlier love for the novel. And, lo and behold, I realized that Spinelli had written a companion novel (Love, Stargirl) in 2007 that I was completely unaware of. I’ll tackle Love, Stargirl in a later post, but this one is dedicated to reaffirming my love for Stargirl. This book is, hands down, my favorite nonconformity novel in existence. I’ve always found myself drawn to books that have completely original and singular heroines. In more recent years, this has boiled down to a deep affection for authors John Green and Barbara Kingsolver, both who are experts at creating multi-faceted female characters. However, what I realized by re-reading Stargirl was that my fascination with completely unique heroines began much earlier in life, when I first read a book by Jerry Spinelli. Spinelli’s powerful storytelling allows him to craft unforgettable characters, even beyond the titular character and Leo Borlock (case and point: Archie Hapwood). This book remains a seminal piece of my childhood, and I am much happier for having rediscovered it as an adult. Read it.

“She was bendable light: she shone around every corner of my day.”





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