Young Adult Lit/Crit

April 21, 2008


Filed under: Look What I'm Reading for Book Club! — sostrom @ 9:29 am

I realize that Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli is something that a lot of people have read or at least heard about, which is why I chose it for my book club book.  It was written in 2000, and Spinelli has since written a sequel, Love, Stargirl.  I can see why this book is so popular and has such longevity.  The title character is an extremely altruistic tenth grader.  At first she is looked at with curiosity, then she is accepted, and then, when her altruism seems too far-reaching for her fellow students, she is shunned.  Stargirl’s altruism is an example for readers of all ages.  Leo’s (the narrator) struggle to answer the question, “Whose affection do you value more, hers or the others?” will also resonate with all readers.  I would recommend Stargirl for younger or struggling readers.  It’s a quick read whose simple language and thought-provoking message will last long after you finish it.




  1. Sarah,
    I’m so glad you liked this book! I read it last semester as a book club choice in AED 541. It was delightful! Although Stargirl is SUPER strange, I think we have all seen a little stargirl in someone at one time or another. Reading this book might make us think twice about that person. I think all middle school students should read this book. I wish I had read Stargirl in middle school. It’s a time when individuality is being stifled by peers, but kids are just starting the process of discovering who they are. How sad! I think it captures the school environment very well, didn’t you? The students are SO quick to change their opinion of Stargirl and really all of the other students as well.

    Happy, sad, funny, thoughtful. I agree with you Sarah, this book is memorable and a worthy read.

    Comment by allison — April 21, 2008 @ 7:30 pm

  2. Sarah: I am glad you liked this book. I liked it as well. I just bought it used this weekend from bookstore. I am excited to read Love, Stargirl. However, I read Eggs by Spinelli, and I didn’t really like it at all. Have you read any of his other books?


    Comment by mandygrl101 — April 21, 2008 @ 7:43 pm

  3. Thanks for the responses.

    First, Allison, I had a different response to the character of Stargirl. I didn’t see her as that strange. I saw her more as a model of how we should be, how we should treat and consider each other. I found myself thinking, “What a great idea!” more often than “What a weirdo!” I guess readers can take it either as a way to be or a way to be more accepting of people who are different. But do you think there is a hopeful message in Stargirl? Is the message that we (society at large) will never be able to accept someone like Stargirl?

    Next, Mandy, I have read Maniac Magee and Loser both of which I liked, but I think they are definitely middle school level books. Stargirl takes place in a high school; do you think high school students would enjoy it, or would they find it not challenging enough?


    Comment by sostrom — April 22, 2008 @ 10:08 am

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