BONUS BOOK: Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

“And I must tell you that others were there too: the Lenape maiden and the boy she fell for and Grace, Charlie’s Grace, and many more, many more than a camera could ever see. So many, and I couldn’t have said why.”

Genre: Fiction

Book Jacket Synopsis: “Stargirl has moved and left everything behind: Arizona, enchanted desert places – and Leo, her once (and future?) boyfriend. He’s all she can think about, and her life begins to feel like a parade of unhappy anniversaries. Then Stargirl meets her wonderfully bizarre new neighbors: Dootsie, the curly-headed five-year-old “human bean;” Betty Lou, who hasn’t stepped outside her house for nine years; hot-tempered Alvina with that one glittery nail; and Perry Delloplane, the blue-eyed thief who soon lays his own claim to Stargirl’s heart. In letters to Leo over the course of a year, Stargirl comes to find hope in new places: mockingbirds, donut angels, and the Winter Solstice – the turning point day when dark tips to light. But what’s life without Leo? Will he – can he – answer that one crucial question she asks every morning to the rising sun? In this companion novel to Stargirl, Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli continues his beloved heroine’s story in a tale of hurt and healing, solstice and sunbeams.”

Review: This book. GUYS. I don’t even know where to begin. When I first found out that there was a companion novel to Stargirl, I was annoyed with myself for having not discovered it sooner. However, having finally finished Love, Stargirl, I can now say that this book found me at the exact right time in my life. I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate it as much as I do now if I had discovered it earlier.

“Live today. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Just today. Inhabit your moments. Don’t rent them out to tomorrow.”

If you’ve read even little portions of my blog, you’ve probably realized that I am pretty obsessive when it comes to novel pacing. Many of the books that I really enjoyed reading miss out on a four- or five-star rating because I find the pacing to be, more often than not, too fast. Love, Stargirl is perhaps the most perfectly paced book I have ever read. Consider the character of Perry Delloplane. I knew from reading the Love, Stargirl book jacket that he was going to be a new love interest for Stargirl. And I automatically hated him for it. Stargirl is supposed to end up with Leo! Yes, he may have tried to change her into “Susan,” but by the end of Stargirl he realizes the error of his ways. They are meant to be together!

“Let’s promise each other that if we ever meet again we will never plow and push our new-fallen snow. We will not become slush. We will stay like this field and melt away together only in the sun’s good time.”

Poor Perry, already the object of my animosity and I hadn’t even cracked the book open yet. But, thanks to Spinelli’s excellent writing and Stargirl’s engaging inner monologue, I was able to handle (even like, I daresay) Perry. This book is beautifully written and manages the impossible task of living up to the stellar reputation set by its predecessor. I am sure that I will return to Love, Stargirl many times over the coming years. Ultimately, it’s the story of how a girl learns to reclaim her future in the face of lost love and, in doing so, becomes the very best version of herself. She has help along the way and the outstanding cast of supplementary characters (in particular, Dootise and Alvina) make this novel that much richer.

“We long to be found, hoping our searchers have not given up and gone home. But I no longer hope to be found, Leo. Do not follow me! Let’s just be fabulously where we are and who we are. You be you and I’ll be me, today and today and today, and let’s trust the future to tomorrow. Let the stars keep track of us.”






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