Have you ever wondered what was inside a teenager’smind? Have you ever wondered if you should fit in or stay true to who you are?Well, Jerry Spinelli did answer these questions in a creative and innovativeway with his excellent book called Stargirl. Spinelli described Stargirl, alsonamed Susan Caraway, as one in a kind. Stargirl would see things differently,which mesmerizes her classmates every time. She would wear wacky outfits andhave a wacky behavior. She would be kind and friendly to everyone, even thoughshe is new at the school and that no one seems friendly back. Perhaps, onestudent, Leo Borlock, is attracted to her true self. It should be noted thatLeo is an ordinary student who struggles to conform to the rest of his peersand later in the story, he has to choose between having a normal life or being withthe protagonist, Stargirl.
Hillary Kimble, another student, is determined todestroy any chances that Stargirl could make friends. When Stargirl joins thecheerleading squad, she becomes popular and Leo is happy about it. Perhaps, shewould cheer for both teams, which made her popularity fall fast and ruthlessly.Everyone at school stopped talking to her, except for Dori Dilson and LeoBorlock. Later on, Leo realizes that he is also a target.
He has to decide ifhe cares more about Stargirl or everyone else. Leo decides to stay by Stargirl’sside, but one day he couldn’t handle it anymore. He then tells Stargirl thatshe has to change if they want to stay together. Stargirl is really sad aboutthe situation and she just disappears. Even though she tried to be likeeveryone else, the other students did not accept her any better. So, shedecided to embrace her true identity and Leo is ticked about it. Stargirlaccepts the fact that Leo cannot love her for who she really is and decides togo to the upcoming dance by herself and disappears after that. This book is all about bullying, individuality, diversity,acceptance, and fitting in socially.
The fact that the protagonist, Susan “Stargirl”Caraway, is different and true to her own self, mesmerized her classmates. Evenif she tried to conform to the other students, it backfired quickly as she was betrayingher true self. Stargirl’s character shows the inner tension that adolescentscan experience and feel.
They often struggle with the fact that they can stay uniqueor that they can fit in and this story illustrates this problematic. Spinelli delivereda strong message to his readers: it is important to stay true to who you are,even if it feels like you have to conform to the norms of society.