4 Stars

Stargirl. From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, the hallways hum with the murmur of “Stargirl, Stargirl.” She captures Leo Borlock’s heart with just one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with just one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. At first.

Then they turn on her. Stargirl is suddenly shunned for everything that makes her different, and Leo, panicked and desperate with love, urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her: normal.

Stargirl is a heartbreaking, yet beautiful story about one girl’s desire to be herself, and one boy’s desire to change her. Stargirl, or Susan – the name her parents gave her –  is about as strange as they come, in her long prairie skirts, serenading students with her ukulele, and carting her pet rat on her shoulder. But she is also the most unselfish person there is, leaving anonymous gifts on doorsteps, handing out candy and cards on special occasions, and even cheering for the opposing basketball team! But in a world where fitting in is the most important task in high school, what is a boy like Leo – shy, sensitive Leo – supposed to do when the shunning of his first love becomes his worst nightmare.

There are so many preteen and teen books out there about “fitting in”, and for good reason. Our children need to learn to be more accepting, more forgiving, and to embrace each other’s differences.

For Parents: this book is appropriate for 10+. Although Stargirl experiences great disdain for who she is, she stays strong. The ending is not happy, but it is not tragic either.