Cover image for Stargirl
Title:
Stargirl
Author:
Spinelli, Jerry.
Personal Author:
Edition:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
Thorndike, ME : Thorndike Press, 2001.

©2000
Physical Description:
240 pages ; 23 cm
Summary:
In this story about the perils of popularity, the courage of nonconformity, and the thrill of first love, an eccentric student named Stargirl changes Mica High School forever.
Language:
English
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.2 6.0 41562.
ISBN:
9780786232185
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Clarence Library X Young Adult Fiction Large Print
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Summary

Summary

In recent years, the Young Adult genre has both expanded and matured. Thorndike Press offers this series to make the best of the Young Adult genre available to young readers in Large Print.Stargirl. She's as magical as the desert sky and as mysterious as her own name. When she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, the students are enchanted. At first. Then they turn on her. Stargirl is suddenly shunned for everything that makes her different. And Leo Borlock, panicked and desperate with love, urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her: normal. Within this celebration of nonconformity lies an emotional tale about the perils of popularity -- and the thrill and inspiration of first love.


Author Notes

Jerry Spinelli was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania on February 1, 1941. He received a bachelor's degree from Gettysburg College and a master's degree from Johns Hopkins University. He worked as an editor with Chilton from 1966 to 1989. He launched his career in children's literature with Space Station 7th Grade in 1982. He has written over 30 books including The Bathwater Gang, Picklemania, Stargirl, Milkweed, and Mama Seeton's Whistle. In 1991, he won the Newbery Award for Maniac Magee. In 1998, Wringer was named a Newbery Honor book.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-9. Sixteen-year-old Leo recounts Stargirl's sojourn at Mica High in an allegorical story that is engagingly written but overreaches. Everyone notices Stargirl when she comes to school. She wears a granny gown, strums a ukulele, and sings "Happy Birthday" to kids in the cafeteria. She also carries around a pet rat. Her classmates veer between ignoring her and being discreetly fascinated by her weirdness--dancing when there's no music, speaking in class of trolls and stars. Slowly, Stargirl attracts a following, especially after she gives a spellbinding speech in an oratorical contest and singlehandly stirs up school spirit. But her intense popularity is short-lived as, predictably, the teens turn on her. Leo is attracted by Stargirl and her penchant for good works. But just about the time they get together, the rest of the school is shunning her, and to his confusion and despair, Leo eventually turns his back on Stargirl, too. Spinelli firmly captures the high-school milieu, here heightened by the physical and spiritual barrenness of an Arizona location, a new town where people come to work for technology companies and the school team is called the Electrons. Dialogue, plot, and supporting cast are strong: the problem here is Stargirl herself. She may have been homeschooled, may not have seen much TV, but despite her name, she has lived on planet earth for 15 years, and her naivete is overplayed and annoying. When Leo tells her that not everyone likes having somebody with a ukulele sing "Happy Birthday" to them, she is shocked. That she has not noticed she is being shunned is unbelievable, and, at times, readers may feel more sympathy for the bourgeois teens than the earnest, kind, magical Stargirl. That's too bad, because Spinelli's point about the lure and trap of normalcy is a good one. But to make it real, Stargirl needed to have at least one foot on the ground. --Ilene Cooper


Publisher's Weekly Review

Ritter, in the sort of dynamic, focused performance that makes him a versatile actor, effortlessly walks the halls of Mica Area High School as 16-year-old Leo Borlock, a boy coming to grips with first love and the pressures of conformity. Junior year takes a most unusual track for Leo, a proud-to-be-ordinary kid, as well as most of the student body, when a new sophomore named Stargirl arrives on the scene. With her odd clothes, pet rat named Cinnamon and penchant for playing the ukulele during lunch, free spirit Stargirl turns the school on its ear. But before Leo really knows it's happening, Stargirl steals his heart, a development that eventually puts him at odds with just about everyone. As his love for Stargirl grows, so does his concern that they are an oddity in the world; he finds himself facing a difficult choice between society and his girlfriend. With a mesmerizing reading rhythm peppered with spirited and heartfelt dialogue, Ritter fully captures the emotional current of Spinelli's text. He relates the humorous details, clique-related dramas and intense heartbreak of high school life with a knowing tone that young listeners will likely embrace. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-10-High school is a time of great conformity, when being just like everybody else is of paramount importance. So it is no surprise that Stargirl Caraway causes such excitement and confusion when she arrives at Mica High in Arizona. Initially, everyone is charmed by her unconventional behavior- she wears unusual clothing, she serenades the lunchroom with her ukulele, she practices random acts of kindness, she is cheerleader extraordinaire in a place with no school spirit. Naturally, this cannot last and eventually her individuality is reviled. The story is told by Leo, who falls in love with Stargirl's zany originality, but who then finds himself unable to let go of the need to be conventional. Spinelli's use of a narrator allows readers the distance necessary to appreciate Stargirl's eccentricity and Leo's need to belong to the group, without removing them from the immediacy of the story. That makes the ending all the more disappointing-to discover that Leo is looking back imposes an unnecessary adult perspective on what happened in high school. The prose lapses into occasionally unfortunate flowery flights, but this will not bother those readers-girls especially-who will understand how it feels to not quite fit the mold and who attempt to exult in their differences.-Sharon Grover, Arlington County Department of Libraries, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

When I was little, my Uncle Pete had a necktie with a porcupine painted on it. I though that necktie was just about the neatest thing in the world. Uncle Pete would stand patiently before me while I ran my fingers over the silky surface, half expecting to be stuck by one of the quills. Once, he let me wear it. I kept looking for one of my own, but I could never find one. I was twelve when we moved from Pennsylvania to Arizona. When Uncle Pete came to say goodbye, he was wearing the tie. I though he did so to give me one last look at it, and I was grateful. But then, with a dramatic flourish, he whipped off the tie and draped it around my neck. "It's yours," he said. "Going-away present." I loved that porcupine tie so much that I decided to start a collection. Two years after we settled in Arizona, the number of ties in my collection was still one. Where do you find a porcupine necktie in Mica, Arizona - or anywhere else, for that matter? On my fourteenth birthday, I read about myself in the local newspaper. The family section ran a regular feature about kids on their birthdays, and my mother had called in some info. The last sentence read: "As a hobby, Leo Borlock collects porcupine neckties." Several days later, coming home from school, I found a plastic bag on our front step. Inside was a gift-wrapped package tied with yellow ribbon. The tag said, "Happy Birthday!" I opened the package. It was a porcupine necktie. Two porcupines were tossing darts with their quills, while a third was picking its teeth. I inspected the box, the tag, the paper. Nowhere could I find the giver's name. I asked my parents. I asked my friends. I called my Uncle Pete. Everyone denied knowing anything about it. At the time I simply considered the episode a mystery. It did not occur to me that was being watched. We were all being watched. "Did you see her?" That was the first thing Kevin said to me on the first day of school, eleventh grade. We were waiting for the bell to ring. "See who?" I said. "Hah!" He craned his neck, scanning the mob. He had witnessed something remarkable; it showed on his face. He grinned, still scanning. "You'll know." There were hundreds of us, milling about, calling names, pointing to summer-tanned faces we hadn't seen since June. Our interest in each other was never keener than during the fifteen minutes before the first bell of the first day. I punched his arm. "Who?" The bell rang. We poured inside. I heard it again in homeroom, a whispered voice behind me as we said the Pledge of Allegiance. "You see her?" I heard it in the hallways. I heard it in English and Geometry: "Did you see her?" Who could it be? A new student? A spectacular blonde from California? Or from back East, where many of us came from? Or one of those summer makeovers, someone who leaves in June looking like a little girl and returns in September as a full-bodied woman, a ten-week miracle? And then in Earth Sciences I heard a name: "Stargirl." I turned to the senior slouched behind me. "Stargirl?" I said. "What kind of name is that?" "That's it. Stargirl Caraway. She said it in homeroom." "Stargirl?" "Yeah." And then I saw her. At lunch. She wore an off-white dress so long it covered her shoes. It had ruffles around the neck and cuffs and looked like it could have been her great-grandmother's wedding gown. Her hair was the color of sand. IT fell to her shoulders. Something was strapped across her back, but it wasn't a book bag. At first I thought it was a miniature guitar. I found out later it was a ukulele. She did not carry a lunch tray. She did carry a large canvas bag with a life-size sunflower painted on it. The lunchroom was dead silent as she walked by. She stopped at an empty table, laid down her bag, slung the instrument strap over he chair, and sat down. She pulled a sandwich from the bag and started to eat. Half the lunchroom kept staring, half starting buzzing. Kevin was grinning. "Wha'd I tell you?" I nodded. "She's in tenth grade," he said. "I hear she's been homeschooled till now." "Maybe that explains it," I said. Her back was to us, so I couldn't see her face. No one sat with her, but at the tables next to hers kids were cramming two to a seat. She didn't seem to notice. She seemed marooned in a sea of staring buzzing faces. Kevin was grinning again. "You thinking what I'm thinking?" he said. I grinned back. I nodded. "Hot Seat." Hot Seat was our in-school TV show. We had started it the year before. I was producer/director, Kevin was on-camera host. Each month he interviewed a student. So far most of them had been honor student types, athletes, model citizens. Noteworthy in the usual ways, but not especially interesting. Suddenly Kevin's eyes boggled. The girl was picking up her ukulele. And now she was strumming it. And now she was singing! Strumming away, bobbing her head and shoulders, singing "I'm looking over a four-leaf clover that I over-looked before." Stone silence all around. Then came the sound of a single person clapping. I looked. It was the lunch-line cashier. And now the girl was standing, slinging her bag over one shoulder and marching among the tables, strumming and singing and strutting and twirling. Head swung, eyes followed her, mouths hung open. Disbelief. When she came by our table, I got my first good look at her face. She wasn't gorgeous, wasn't ugly. A sprinkle of freckles crossed the bridge of her nose. Mostly she looked like a hundred other girls in school, except for two things. She wore no makeup, and her eyes were the biggest I had ever seen, like deer's eyes caught in headlights. She twirled as she went past, he flaring skirt brushing my pantleg, and then she marched out of the lunchroom. From among the tables came three slow claps. Someone whistled. Someone yelped. Kevin and I gawked at each other. Kevin held up his hands and framed a marquee in the air. "Hot Seat! Coming Attraction - Stargirl!" I slapped the table. "Yes!" We slammed hands. From the Hardcover edition. Excerpted from Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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