Stargirl by @JerrySpinelli1

Stargirl is mysterious, unusual and uninhibited. She arrives at Leo’s school in Arizona and, with her openness and individuality, she challenges the way the other students think and behave. Everyone falls in love with her, especially 16 year old Leo.

However teenagers and high school are all about conformity. Stargirl’s ability to be herself is too much of a challenge for some of her school mates and thinks soon sour. Leo finds himself torn – can he publicly support the girl he admires so much in private? What is more important – openly being with Stargirl or being accepted by his peers? It takes maturity and experience to stand out and, aged sixteen, Leo is struggling.

At the heart of this story is Stargirl’s individualism and the way her peers feel threatened by her. She is unusual not only because she is unique, but because she is altruistic and kind. She does what she believes is right without worrying about being cool or popular. However, confirming, fitting in, belonging and being accepted are key to life in high school.

This is a gentle and bitter sweet love story with a very deep message. It will make readers think and can lead to some thought provoking discussions. Many readers will empathise with Leo and understand some of the frustrations experienced by Stargirl’s peers. What this book should do is to help them see the bigger picture and question why individualism is so frightening and whether rejection is the right way to react to that fear.

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