stargirl

Stargirl and Love, Stargirl - Great books for the soul, mind and heart




I know that Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli is considered a young adult novel, but that book, and its sequel, Love Stargirl, are too wonderful to just stick with the younger among us. Sometimes you just need one of those altruistic, simple, beautiful "Young Adult Book" stories to make you feel better. Stargirl, and its new sequel Love, Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli, have both managed to find me precisely when I needed them.

The History:

After September 11, I read Sharon Creech's "Walk Two Moons" and Kate DiCamillo's "Because of Winn Dixie". Both are sweet, tender, thoughtful books (attached in some form or another to the Newberry, too) which I loved loved loved. I highly recommend them. After reading those two books, I craved more quality YA books.

At the time I found the first Stargirl, I was working at my first job after graduating from college at the Best Elementary School in the World helping . (One of the toughest PITAs to work with, to say the least. The poor thing.)

I was also working at evil Borders in the children's books department. Those two things gave me ready access to YA books.

The Set-Up:

It was dreary, frigid February in 2002. A stupid, fat, ugly, shoe salesman with bad skin and a receding hairline had tragically, embarrassingly broken up with me. Ugh. I was house sitting a big old black lab for a family I knew from the school. They'd gone on a skiing vacation. The house was idyllic, set in the middle of an open field on a rolling hill in quintessentially Maine Freeport. And that's when I first opened up Jerry Spinelli's "Stargirl."

The Story:

And there wasn't a better balm for a freshly dumped girl of independence than a YA novel about one of the most independent, albeit far kinder than me, freshly dumped girls in a story, the lovely Stargirl.

The narrator of Stargirl is the dumpee boyfriend, a regular old kid named Leo who gets flabbergasted by the presence of homeschool turned new kid Stargirl at his high school. She teaches him so much about life, love, learning, being a person, being a teenager. He falls in love, falls out of love and then she just disappears.

The Sequel:

And that's where "Love, Stargirl" picks up. It's letters Stargirl writes - but doesn't send off right away - to Leo from her new town in Pennsylvania.

I found it while I was looking for books for grad school at the bookstore on Monday. Instead of buying anything for school, I saw Love, Stargirl in hard cover and decided instead to buy it. (Kind of a splurge but I'll donate it to a high school library after, I figure.)

I'm halfway through. It's just as charming as the first one and has made me feel better during this crap time. Also, it gives me a catalyst for crying, which I haven't done a ton of simply because that's how we roll in this house.

I recommend both; they're easy reading but very good.

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