Written By: Jerry Spinelli
Review By: Heather Ngo
Stargirl; captivating, original, and diverse. Jerry Spinelli has successfully crafted a novel that leaves his readers wanting more and feeling as if they have now formed strong bonds with the characters. A fellow peer of mine, Danika V., has also read this story and has described it as heartwarming, love filled, and inspirational. In her book review, Danika, also talked about the main theme that Spinelli was tryng to get across to his audience. She had stated that the theme of the book was, “Stargirl taught us to always be ourselves, and never change for anyone else.” After comparing Danika’s opinions with my own, I would definitely agree with her commentary however her views on theme are very different from my perspective. Although it is true that Stargirl taught us to be ourselves, I felt that this was more of an allegory than a theme. Instead I would depict the theme as the thoughts of an “ethical” society and the desires of fitting in.
Jerry Spinelli wove an exquisite tale that manages to capture the hearts of his audience and make them feel in tune with the story and setting. Throughout the novel I was strongly captivated by Spinelli’s character development. In the novel, Stargirl, we are able to deeply connect with the characters mainly because it is from a first person perspective. Although Spinelli did not focus on describing Leo’s appearance, we are still able to see his thoughts and emotions according to the situation at hand. Leo is clearly the protagonist in this novel and I was able to understand his feelings and connect with what he was dealing with. The main setting in the novel, took place at Mica High. Once again, Spinelli did not focus on the physical attire of the school but he still managed to describe the community in spiritual ways using people and correlating events. I often felt that without Stargirl Mica High was like an empty shell, having a hard outer core but nothing magical on the inside. Mica High is the main setting in which, the characters would be affected by Stargirl; on the first day of Stargirl’s entrance she immediately puts the student body under a trance and changed their lives forever. Gone was the quiet, undisturbed Mica High and replaced, was a frenzy of individuality and independence. Here is a part of the novel that shows us her affects on the community and how the individuality starts.“A plain, timid girl painted her toenails kelly green. A boy showed up with purple hair. There was no PA announcements, no TV coverage, no headlines in the Mica Times: MAHS Students Astir Individuality Erupts. But it was there it was happening.” –Leo Page 41. Overall I thought that Stargirl was a fantastic book and Spinelli did a great job of keeping his novel short and sweet. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves to be inspired and who likes a heart warming story.