Stargirl: Review

22 Jun

This summer, I am setting aside some of my reading time to preview texts I plan to teach next year. Although I will be teaching many of the units I have taught in the past (including To Kill a Mockingbird and Romeo and Juliet), I will be introducing many new pieces of literature into the curriculum. My first unit will focus on the theme of coming-of-age. I plan to divide students into literature circle groups for this unit, and each group will read a different novel. Therefore, my summer reading list is FULL of coming-of-age novels! But I don’t mind. Since reading To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time in high school, I have enjoyed coming-of-age books.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli is the first book I finished this summer. And I LOVED it! As I mentioned in a previous post, I am not usually drawn into young adult literature. However, Stargirl is a noteworthy exception. Focused on a kind-hearted and eccentric high-schooler named “Stargirl” Caraway, the novel explores the themes of individuality and acceptance. Leo Borlock, the narrator, watches as Stargirl serenades her classmates with her ukelele. He witnesses her random acts of kindness – a simple card, a bouquet of flowers. But most of all, he wonders. What inspires Stargirl to do these kind things for others? Why doesn’t she care that she’s different? As the novel unfolds, Leo is faced with a difficult decision: will he acknowledge his friendship with Stargirl and risk being different, or will he end their relationship so that he can fit in?

I can’t wait to teach this novel next year! I believe my students will be able to relate to both the themes and the narrator in Stargirl.

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