Written from the perspective of Leo, this is the story of Stargirl, a spunky, independent teenager who moves to a small town in Arizona to attend Mica High School along with Leo. He observes Stargirl closely, as she does not seem to live by the unspoken rule of the school: don’t stand out. She wears different outfits to school, sings Happy Birthday to her classmates on her ukulele, and cheers both teams at the high school’s football games.
Leo and Stargirl eventually enter a relationship and Leo struggles with her rise and fall from popularity, as he does not wish to be connected with someone in the spotlight. Spinelli tells a unique story about nonconformity and the importance of staying true to yourself through the very unique character of Stargirl.
If you’re looking for a quick recommendation, yes, I would definitely recommend this book!
I first read this book in high school and I was inspired! I loved everything indie then and even watching indie movies now takes me back. The characters are great, especially Stargirl, who is everything my high school self wanted to be but was never brave enough to become. She is different, but not afraid to be herself when she’s “popular.”
What’s so great to watch is her transformation throughout the story. As different situations arise, she eventually gives in to the obsession with popularity. She goes by her given first name, Susan. She strives to be everything Leo and her classmates want her to be to regain their acceptance. Of course, this doesn’t work out in the end, and that’s where the lesson comes in.
As Leo reflects on how his high school changed, I think he realizes what Stargirl taught him as a teenager. Life is too short to care about what other people think. As a teenager, this lesson is all too valuable and overlooked.
Recently, the book was adapted into a movie on Disney+. I don’t think the changes are all that different. Because the book is fairly straightforward to start off with. It’s a very quick read, easy writing that doesn’t get in the way of the story, and a great plot. And I think they did a great job of adapting the book into a movie.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to busy moms. Especially if you have a daughter in high school who may be struggling with the acceptance of others. Or with the ladder of popularity that’s sure to crop up at any high school. Since there’s already a movie made, it’ll be easy to reward yourself with a good movie night after finishing the book!
Five out of five stars
If you enjoyed my review of Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, you might also like The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. Check out my review!
If you’re interested in purchasing Stargirl, here are some quick links to buy the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And, if you’re interested to see what others think, here’s the link to the book on Goodreads.