I hope your weekend has been going well. I feel like mine has passed in a blur. If you had asked me what I have done, I don’t know if I could even tell you XD. Today’s review is Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. I had never heard of this book until I watched Gibi ASMR’s reading of the book (link to playlist HERE) in which I was completely enthralled by every word. So I bought it and read it myself after her series was finished so I could give you a full review. If you are interested in ASMR you have probably watched her videos at some point, she does some incredible role-plays. She is one of my all time faves and I totally recommend checking her out if you haven’t. But enough rambling, let’s jump right in.
Title: Stargirl (Stargirl #1)
Author: Jerry Spinelli
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Coming-of-age, Contemporary
Publication Date: August 8th 2000
Leo Borlock follows the unspoken rule at Mica Area High School: don’t stand out–under any circumstances! Then Stargirl arrives at Mica High and everything changes–for Leo and for the entire school. After 15 years of home schooling, Stargirl bursts into tenth grade in an explosion of colour and a clatter of ukulele music, enchanting the Mica student body.
But the delicate scales of popularity suddenly shift, and Stargirl is shunned for everything that makes her different. Somewhere in the midst of Stargirl’s arrival and rise and fall, normal Leo Borlock has tumbled into love with her.
In a celebration of nonconformity, Jerry Spinelli weaves a tense, emotional tale about the fleeting, cruel nature of popularity–and the thrill and inspiration of first love.
My Goodreads Review:
I recently listened to this. It was incredible. Stargirl was inspirational. I wished more people viewed the world through her rose-tinted glasses. Her random acts of kindness inspire me to do similar things. I liked the romance element. The juxtaposition between Stargirl’s exuberant and loving character and Leo’s shy and conforming nature was really nice to read. His character arc was a definite highlight because I rooted for him the whole way through to do the right thing. An incredible book that I recommend to everyone.
It makes you want to see the world in a better light.
Characters: Leo Borlock was a really likeable character. He was different from a lot of protagonists where the setting is high school because either they are social outcasts or the popular kid, Leo was neither. He floated in between which I liked because not everyone fits nicely into those brackets. His character arc was my favourite of the book. I related to him and his desires to fit in while also wanting to be true to his self and his interests.
Stargirl Caraway is an extremely interesting character. She is everything I want to be in life. She made me want to be a better person. She was always interesting to read, I especially admired her ability to control a room with only a few words. It’s almost impossible to sum up a character as incredible as Stargirl in only a few words because of how incredibly she is written. She isn’t simply non-conforming, she is brilliant and warm, she is curious and ignorant. She’s the perfect female protagonist because she cares so much and at the same time cares about nothing. She is the biggest oxymoron in existence and I love her!
When it comes to side characters like Hillari Kimble, Wayne Parr and
Kevin Quinlan I really liked all of them too. They played their stereotypical and yet un-stereotypical roles perfectly. They made things quintessentially high-school.
Characters = 10/10
Humour: The story wasn’t on the nose humorous. And yet I still found there to be funny bits. Maybe it was because I imagined what would happen if this occurred at my own school and I could see the uproar and hilarity that would ensue. Stargirl’s lunchtime birthday sing-alongs caused special humour to me because we had people come into our lunch hall and sing at school and I cringed at embarrassment thinking back to my own singing…Eeek.
Humour = 6/10
Atmosphere: I don’t really know what to say here, other than I thought it was an incredible rendition of high school. There is one section specifically, about Wayne Parr, that really resonated with me:
“By both girls and boys standards Wayne Parr was gorgeous. But he was more and less than that. In terms of achievement, Wayne Parr seemed to be nobody. He played on no sports team, joined no organisation, won no awards, earned no A’s. He was elected for nothing, honoured for nothing. And yet, though I did not realise this until years later, he was the grand marshal of our daily parade. We did not wake up in the morning and ask ourselves, what will Wayne Parr wear today? Or how will Wayne Parr act today? At least not consciously. But on some level, below awareness, that’s exactly what we did. Wayne Parr did not go to football and basketball games and by en large neither did we. Wayne Parr did not ask questions in class or get worked up over teachers and pep rallies, and neither did we. Wayne Parr did not much care. Neither did we.”
I know so many people from school who were Wayne Parr. Personally for my year there was a clique of Wayne Parr’s who knew they had this authority over the student body, despite the fact that many of the student knew they did. The book was constantly drawing incredible parallels to my school experience, and that’s why it’s so successful. Because it so accurately nails the reality of the school environment and the fleetingness of your teenage years there.
Atmosphere = 10/10
Writing Style: I really enjoyed the writing style. It was very straight to the point majority of the time with the occasional descriptive section whilst talking about the desert. It was accurate in teenage vocab, never too over exaggerated. Some of my favourite moments were the highfiving and banter between Leo and Kevin because it showed a bond between them, whilst not being over-the-top and unrealistically teenie. It balanced minor sentences and repetition really interestingly too.
Writing Style = 7/10
Plot: As far as plots go this was pretty tame. They weren’t on a quest or had a goal to achieve. It simply retold the story of Leo during his final years of high school with Stargirl. Which seems like a very boring plot, like it would drag. But it didn’t. The paired back plot simply describing life allowed for the characters and the deeper meanings of the book to shine through.
Plot = 6/10
Intrigue: Like I touched on above. Despite not having a gripping and action packed plot, I was totally enthralled. I wanted to know what happened next. This was intensified by the fact I had to wait a months between videos for the next section to be released as I was listening to it as it came out. The tension of the waiting, made it all that more interesting.
Intrigue = 7/10
Logic: All the characters were totally believable. Even Stargirl, who is basically segregated from social society because she is unbelievable. An yet, through little tiny actions, somehow she becomes one of the most believable characters. None of the characters ever do something that seems out of character, which is why it is so successful at displaying the conformity in society because it is predictably unpredictable. You want them to break structure and do the right thing, but they never will.
Logic = 10/10
Enjoyment: If you couldn’t tell I adored this. It made me want to be a better person. And to describe a book as literally life-changing, that has to give you a guide of how truly incredible it was.
Enjoyment = 10/10
Relationships: I loved Leo and Stargirl together. It was very realistic and flowed naturally. Leo was awkward about his feelings but was open when it came down to it. Stargirl was always open and honest about it which just fit her personality. They were supportive of each other and just in general a cute first romance. I loved their ups and downs. I was smiling with every word.
Romance = 8/10
Overall Score = 74/90 or 8.2/10
Star Rating = ⭐⭐⭐⭐
That’s the end of the review, unless your sticking around for the spoilers, which will be below as always. I can’t recommend this enough. Like I said this book was life changing for me and it’s obvious why it has won so many awards and why it is often given to middle-school kids in America. If there was ever a book I think everyone would enjoy, this definitely comes the closest. Anyway, See you tomorrow 🙂
I don’t have many spoiler thoughts for this accept I can not believe they do not end up together and that Leo doesn’t do the right thing! I understand it makes the book far better as a moral story and as a realistic representation of teenage relationships, but that doesn’t stop me wanting a happy ending.