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‘Stargirl’ is a novel by the author Jerry Spinelli. Jerry is an American writer that grew up in Norristown, Pennsylvania, and he now lives in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. He decided to become a writer at the age of 16 after a poem he wrote about sports was published in a local newspaper. Jerry went to Gettysburg College and he got his master’s degree at Johns Hopkins University. Jerry has written over 45 books and ‘Stargirl’ is one of them. In 1991, Jerry won the Newbery Medal for the book ‘Maniac Magee’. The Newbery Medal is an award you get for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. ‘Stargirl’ was released on August 8, 2000, and the story continues in a book called ‘Love, Stargirl’, which was released on August 14, 2007, and later in the year 2019, they are releasing a movie based on the books.

The book ‘Stargirl’ is a teenage love story that shows the pros and cons of being different. It has gotten many great reviews and, for example, it got 5 stars on commonsensemedia.org, 4 stars on goodreads.com, and 4,5 stars on amazon.com. The story is about a girl that calls herself Stargirl and is new to the Mica Area High School after being home-schooled all her life. Stargirl is different from the other students because she dresses up and behaves differently than any other student. In the cafeteria, she plays her ukulele at lunch for the other students, and when it rains, she dances in it. She has short hair in the color of sand, big eyes, and freckles. Her face is still very normal like every other girl in the school, except she doesn’t wear makeup. Leo is the main character of the book. He is the director of the in-school TV show ‘Hot Seat’. He and his best friend Kevin made it, and has it gained a lot of popularity over the year. Leo is shy and likes to hide behind the camera. Leo and Stargirl become good friends in the middle of the story and Leo might be starting to fall in love with her. Kevin, Leo’s best friend, is an on-camera host of ‘Hot Seat’, and is he begging Leo to put Stargirl on the hot seat since she has become the main topic of Mica Area High School. He believes almost everything he hears and is he a very outgoing person. Kevin cares about Leo, but he doesn’t want to be seen with him while he is with Stargirl. Hillary Kimble is a student in the school and is popular because of her big mouth. She once tried out for the cheerleading squad and got in, but she turned it down, she just wanted to prove to everyone that she could do it. She has a gorgeous boyfriend whose name is Wayne Parr and people adore him. Hillary doesn’t believe Stargirl is real and thinks that it is just some kind of setup from the teachers to show that it is okay to be different.

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The story takes place in Arizona in the year 2001. People are already learning about technology, and teenagers find it odd to see girls not wearing any makeup. The story begins when Leo is 12 years old, but the story picks up 4 years later when Stargirl is first seen, and from there is the time zone of the novel around 12 months. The most interesting character of the novel which the novel is named after is not the narrator, so this isn’t really Stargirl’s story, it is Leo’s and his point of view. The novel is about a girl called Stargirl and how the whole school turned upside down only because she was different and not like everybody else. Leo’s first impression of her is that she is weird and should not have started in this school. Leo is in eleventh grade and is an ordinary boy. Stargirl starts to slip into the hearts of the kids in the school and soon she is loved by a lot of people. She sings for kids on their birthday, leaves kind notes to everybody on Valentine’s Day, and applauds people who do the simplest things, like picking up trash that is laid on the floor. One time it started raining and when the kids looked out from the school windows was Stargirl there dancing in the rain and the cheerleading squad thought that it would be a nice idea to get her in the squad. After she joined the squad, more and more people started to show up to basketball games and the team won every game. One-time Stargirl started to applaud the other teams as well and the kids hated her for that and soon started to ignore her. Leo was still curious about her and they started to become friends. After that, people started to ignore Leo as well, and Kevin didn’t want to be seen with him anymore. Leo and Stargirl began to hang out almost every day and Leo started to see how amazing Stargirl really is. Leo was falling in love but the fact that people didn’t want to talk to him anymore bothered him, so he told Stargirl that, and in the end she understood. The next day Stargirl changed her name back to Susan and she dressed like every other teenager and wore makeup, Leo was so happy and he was not ashamed to be with her anymore because she blended in. But it became old to always see her like everybody else, and he missed Stargirl.

I think that the book is beautiful and really shows us how much society can affect us. Stargirl was herself and was whom she wanted to be because she had never been in school before, and that shows us how much other people’s opinion matters. I could not tell if Leo was going to end up with Stargirl, and I guess that is what makes the story interesting, not knowing exactly how the story was going to end. I could see myself reading more books after this author and I will definitely read the continued story which is called ‘Love, Stargirl’. I think the message the author is trying to send out is that you should not be afraid of being yourself.

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