Monday, July 14, 2008

Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

I read Stargirl a while back (pre-blog; the review of it is exactly one sentence long), and remember really liking it. I think what I really liked was Stargirl herself; I remember liking her individuality, her fearlessness in the face of peer pressure. However, it's been years since I read this, and that was a bit of a mistake in picking this one up. It picks up right after Stargirl ends, and if you don't remember the end of that one, you'll be a bit lost in this one. At least for a little while.

It's not that reading the first is crucial to enjoying Love, Stargirl; it's not. I enjoyed it. But I did feel like I wasn't enjoying it as much as I could have, had I read Stargirl more recently.

The book follows Stargirl for a year, presumably, the year following her and Leo's falling out. She's moved to Pennsylvania, and she's back to being homeschooled. It's written in diary form -- the world's longest letter to Leo -- and it follows her daily life with her quirky friends. There's the boisterous five-year-old, Dootsie; the angry and aggressive 11-year-old, Alvina; Betty Lou, who hasn't left her house in nine years; Charlie, who spends his days at the gravesite of his dead wife; Arnold, who's one sentence is "Are you looking for me?"; and last, but not least, Perry. Perry may (or may not be) interested in Stargirl. For herself. But he's got issues -- a deadbeat dad, a stealing habit, and a harem -- and Stargirl's not sure whether or not she's interested in him. Or in love, since her heart's still broken because of Leo.

I had different expectations for this book -- it's a cute, sweet little book, but I wanted it to soar. I wanted a different resolution than I got (though the one I got was satisfying in its own way). There were fun antics, but Stargirl wasn't the strong, independent, trend-bucking person I remembered. Perhaps she wasn't meant to be -- Leo did shake her foundation (at least I gathered that) -- but I missed the free-flowing, uniqueness of Stargirl.

I wanted to like this one a whole lot more than I did. Which is too bad. Because I really liked my memory of Stargirl.

Cross-posted at Book Nut.

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