Stargirl - Jerry Spinelli

Title : Stargirl
Author : Jerry Spinelli
First Published : 2000
Publisher : Knopf Books for Young Readers
Format : Paperback
Pages : 186
Language : English

Reread Challenge #1

How do you think somebody who's really like that is going to last around here?

Summary :
Stargirl is a center of attention in Mica High—not in the sexy cheerleader kind of way, but in what-the-hell-are-you-wearing-and-why-on-earth-do-you-have-a-mouse-on-your-shoulder kind of way. She is different. Her action’s out of this world. She wears a long white dress that looks like her grandmother’s wedding gown to school. She strums her ukulele and sings for everybody’s birthday. She attends stranger’s funeral. She sends birthday presents to every people in town. She makes a very good speech. She cheers for her school underdog’s football team and her spirit gives them a winning streak. Her kindness touches people’s heart. In just one seconds, she turns into the  most popular girl in school. She’s even offered a position in the cheerleader squad.

Leo Borlock, the narrator of this story, likes her. He sees Stargirl as a girl, not just as someone who stands out in the crowd. He doesn’t think Stargirl is weird. He thinks she is unique. And suddenly, people starts calling him Starboy. Leo doesn’t mind.

However Stargirl’s popularity doesn’t last long. In one football game, Stargirl starts cheering for everybody. Literally everybody. She cheers for the crowd, she cheers for his team, she cheers for the enemy team, she is the first one helping the injured star of the opposing team. And when her team starts losing, people blames her. Why does she have to cheer for the enemy? Why does she helps the enemy team’s star? She’s the reason we’re losing!

She laughed when there was no joke. She danced when there was no music

And Stargirl’s popularity starts going south. The students don’t mock or ridicule her. It is worse. They shun her, they treat her like she doesn’t exist. And it’s not only to Stargirl, but to people that related to her. To Leo.

Stargirl doesn’t care about all the silent treatment. Or maybe she doesn’t realize. But Leo does. And Leo doesn’t like any of that. Leo wants to be the part of the crowd. He doesn’t want to be shunned. He wants to belong to the ‘normal’ group he used to be a part of. But she also loves Stargirl. And she doesn’t want Stargirl to be different. Leo begs Stargirl to change, to conform. So, for her Leo, Stargirl changes. Stargirl stops singing for anyone’s birthday. Stargirl wears ‘normal’ clothes. Stargirl doesn’t cheer for everybody. Stargirl’s now called Susan.

Stargirl is gone. 

The problem with miracles is they don't last long

 My Reading Experience :
This is a book that I love so dear that I don’t know how to write this review properly I ended up reading it for the third time and writing a whole page of summary. I love this book for its simplicity and I think it’s also very relatable and reminds us of our high school days. And it’s nice to see teenage characters that don’t think about sex all the time, not that I’m against it, it’s just for God’s sake you’re 15 years old don’t you have anything  better to do?

This story revolves around Leo Borlock who always pays attention to every little thing Stargirl does and suddenly feels attracted to her. The readers will see Stargirls’s actions through Leo’s eyes. Even though I didn’t really understand their relationship at the beginning, but as the story progressed, I found their love story impeccably sweet. Leo is very nice for loving all of Stargirl’s quirks. Or not so much.

I think Leo is a portrayal of us as a society. He loves Stargirl and he still stays by her side when all the students turning her back on her. We, too, love someone who dares to be different, we embraced their quirkiness, we think we can understand them. But look what Leo do when he’s also being shunned because he’s close with Stargirl, the weirdo public enemy. He starts second guessing his support for Stargirl. And what do you think you would do if you were Leo? Would you keep backing her up? Would you stay by her side even though the whole world treats you like you were invisible? Would you give up your comfort old safe world, filled with people that looked just like you, acted just like you, for the happiness of being with someone you loved? Well it’s difficult. I could feel what Leo felt, torn between staying with Stargirl or getting back to his friends.

"It was her, Kevin. It was harmless. Weird maybe, but harmless. It was her."

On the other side, there’s Stargirl. I love her. She is the real definition of quirky. I think there’s a Stargirl in all of us. We love to do this strange thing but the whole world tell us it’s ugly so we stop doing that. Little by little we have to give up to the peer pressure and change ourselves. We’re all Stargirl berfore we’re forced to conform.

I had never realized how much I needed the attention of others to confirm my own presence

Don’t get me wrong I love Stargirl, but when I was reading this book, I didn’t always agree to what she did. Why did she have to cheer for the enemy team when her own team was losing? I think she’s also ignorant. She has good intentions, but she’s also very clueless when it comes to interact with people and acts on her own way. For starters, I won’t appreciate someone singing to me in the cafetaria. I mean, think about all the attention I’ll get I might just kill my self on the spot. She deeply thinks about other people’s feelings, but in the same time, she doesn’t. But then again, perhaps I think this way because I’ve known about all these social norms Stargirl has crossed, about what’s appropriate and what’s not.

However, the thing I like the most form this book is about Stargirl’s opinion on names. She changes her name when she feels like it. Because our name doesn’t define us. God, I can relate to that one on a such personal level.

I'm not my name. My name is something I wear, like a shirt. It gets worn, I outgrow it, I change it

Overall :
I wish I had read this book back in my high school days. Could’ve saved me from a lot of trouble trying to change my self to please people that barely talked to me or knew my name. This is the kind of books that will keep you thinking right after you finish reading. I love Stargirl but do I want to be like her? Do I have enough balls to be like her? If I decided to stay true to my self just like Stargirl did, how long would I survive before I finally succumb to the peer pressure? Well, that’s what you’ll get from reading this book, lots and lots of afterthought. This book’s lovely, really. I recommend it to you who wants to read about conforming to social norms and to ehm, basically everyone. Happy reading (and contemplating)!

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