Saturday, 9 February 2013

Stargirl - Jerry Spinelli

Imagine that you are a boy at school.....
Imagine that a new girl arrives......
A girl so odd, so new, so strange that you, and no one else knows what to make of her ukelele, her pet rat, her birthday greetings, her cookies for every one on special days.
Imagine that you realise that she is the girl for you.
Stargirl is that girl, a free spirit who smiles at everyone, plays happy birthday to you on your birthday, leaves small change on the pavement "have you ever seen a small child's face when they spot a coin?", who is bright, clever and different.  From being suspected of being an alien, she goes on to become a cheerleader and (nearly) everyone's friend - for a while.  But because she cares deeply for everyone, and doesn't understand why not everyone feels the same, things happen that shouldn't and she becomes a pariah.  So what are you going to do about that - carry on being with her, or go with the crowd?
This is a lovely novel about being different.  How many times have you come across someone in your life who is not the same as the rest of us?  And how many times have you wanted to be their friend?  And then, somehow, it's not the thing to do. If you have forgotten those difficult days of being an adolescent, you will be reminded of it here. Too, you will be reminded of how much easier it is to run with the crowd than to befriend an individual.   Aimed at YAs, this is a clever way of saying that we are all different.

[In 2004 students from Kent, in Ohio USA, founded a Stargirl Society, which aimed to promote the nonconformist message of the novel. The society received much attention, and inspired young people all over the world to create their own societies. Spinelli's website contains a list of tips on how to start a Stargirl Society]