12. Stargirl
by Jerry Spinelli
A surreal story of a free-spirited young girl in the midst of an highly conforming high school culture.
Appropriate for older teens
YA Fiction

A quick read. Otherworldly. Maybe even a bit strange. But it did give me a lot to think about. The evils of conformity were definitely the theme, and our protagonist was a classic Cosmic Humanist heroine. Part hippie, part prophet, sweet, and certainly evolved; and though I’m giving her a hard time, she really is likable, though a bit unsettling.

The question that real stuck with me from this book was the validity of anonymous service. Can you really love and serve without developing a relationship? I mean clearly you can, but is that a worthy goal? I always say serving in secret as being the highest form, and I think there are times when it is; but it does lack the effort and heart-connection of serving those we love, or learning to love and be loved by those we serve.

I would love to discuss this book with a group of bright young people. I think it could be great book club material, for teens, and adults too.

A couple of quotes:

We wanted to define her, to wrap her up as we did each other, but we could not seem to get past "weird" and "strange" and "goofy." Her ways knocked us off balance. ”

She was elusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl. We did not know what to make of her. In our minds we tried to pin her to a corkboard like a butterfly, but the pin merely went through and away she flew.

She was bendable light: she shone around every corner of my day.

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