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Stargirl | Jerry Spinelli | Review

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli was my pick for February's book club theme: books under 200 pages. At  only 186 pages, it was the perfect fit.

This short little book tells the story of a high school in Mica, Arizona that is hugely impacted by the sudden appearance of home-schooler, Stargirl. She bursts into their world in a flare of colour, ukuleles and a certain spark that no one can truly put out. The story is told from the perspective of Leo, a kid in tenth grade who, like the rest of the school, becomes caught in Stargirl's crazy.

“She was elusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl. We did not know what to make of her. In our minds we tried to pin her to a cork board like a butterfly, but the pin merely went through and away she flew.” 

As Leo gets to know Stargirl a little better, he tries to figure out what makes her tick, what makes her do things like sing happy birthday to every kid in school on their special day, or write imaginary cards to strangers, or leave little token presents on the front porches of the people who live in the town. Who is Stargirl, really? And why isn't she like everyone else?

This was an adorable look at a girl just being her grand self, and a school who tries to fit her into a box, into a mould, that she would only break if they ever managed to squash her into one. It's a story about non-conformity, and what happens if you try and stifle people's creativity and spark and passions. It's a story about knowing who you are, recognising that might not be quite like everyone else, and embracing that. It's a story about high school and peer pressure, about first loves, about friendships; it's about throwing caution to the wind and being free enough and brave enough to be unashamedly yourself. And it's wonderful.

For a book of only 186 pages, there's a sure a heck of lot in it, and all of it is brilliant. Later this year the movie adaptation of Stargirl is being released, and Grace VanderWaal is playing Stargirl, and I already know that's a perfect casting choice. I'm looking for to it!

Have you read Stargirl? What did you think? 

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