“On the contrary, she is one of us. Most decidedly. She is us more than we are us. She is, I think, who we really are. Or were.”
– Stargirl, Jerry Spinelli
I’ve been reading a lot of books in the young adult genre; Stargirl being one of them. Something about their plot lines that I’ve grown to love — maybe it’s how the simple story-telling techniques are able to speak to readers in a profound way.
Stargirl is narrated by Leo who is immediately drawn to Susan “Stargirl” Caraway, a tenth grader who had just moved to Mica Area High School. Stargirl is unlike many of her peers and is described by Leo as such:
“We wanted to define her, to wrap her up as we did each other, but we could not seem to get past ‘weird’ and ‘strange’ and ‘goofy’. Her ways knocked us off balance.
She laughed when there was no joke. She danced when there was no music. She had no friends, yet she was the friendliest person in school. In her answers in class, she often spoke of sea horses and stars, but she did not know what football was.”
He continued, “In our minds, we tried to pin her to a corkboard like a butterfly, but the pin merely went through and away she flew.”
Leo started dating Stargirl, and consequently got to know her on a deeper level. He realized, “She taught me to revel. She taught me to wonder. She taught me to laugh. My sense of humor had always measured up to everyone else’s; but timid, introverted me, I showed it sparingly: I was smiler. In her presence I threw back my head and laughed out loud for the first time in my life.”
Stargirl was who she was: cheering for the other team at basketball games (to let them know they were doing a good job, too), throwing loose change in the streets (to give strangers luck), taking photographs of a little boy named Peter (to document his childhood from a “no holds barred” perspective), sending gifts to strangers (to let them know somebody cares). Her behavior prompts people to believe that everything she does is for show. But thing is, she is just being herself.
Much like simple tales like The Alchemist and The Little Prince, Stargirl dares to go beyondthe themes it’s established: a sense of belongingness, peer pressure, popularity, among others. You will find in this book things much deeper and more complex, but things that aren’t completely out of reach. I also liked that the book was so easy to read, its narrative engaging from the get go. I’m sure readers will not have a hard time falling in love with Stargirl — she’s so quirky and creative and special.
I can’t wait to read the sequel, Love, Stargirl. Let’s see what else Stargirl has up her sleeve, yes? :)
Book cover was grabbed from the Internet.