Today in YA History: August 8, 2000 – ‘Stargirl’ published!

August 8, 2000: Jerry Spinelli’s “Stargirl” is published with Knopf Books, a story of love and nonconformity.

When an eccentric home-schooled girl arrives at a high school that prizes conformity, Leo Borlock is smitten even if the rest of the school finds her behavior–wearing flapper outfits and kimonos, decorating her desk with flowers, singing “Happy Birthday” during lunch to students she’s never met–to be unreal.

Eventually, Stargirl’s behavior is accepted and even mimicked. Individuality (and her popularity) soars! She is invited onto the cheerleading squads, and cheers for both teams. But when Stargirl does some acts of kindness that the student body illogically assumes is the reason the basketball team started losing, Stargirl falls back into obscurity. And her and Leo begin dating.

This novel explores what it’s like to stand out, inspire others, change for the people you love, and how in the end you have to be true to yourself. Ask yourself the question: why is quiet conformity the norm, where outspoken kindness is not? Stargirl will definitely have you thinking!

From the Wikipedia article, “In 2004 students from Kent, Ohio founded a Stargirl Society, which aimed to promote the nonconformist message of the novel. The society received much attention, and inspired young people all over the world to create their own societies. Spinelli’s website contains a list of tips on how to start a Stargirl Society.”

From Olivia: I picked this one up while working at Borders. I’d heard a lot of good about the book, but I’m a bit of a cover snob so it took a while for me to take it seriously. I’m really glad I gave this one a chance though! It made me wish that this book had been around when I was in high school, because I would have found my own “inner Stargirl” and made her a lot stronger. I was definitely the type to wear whatever I wanted–cosplays of Anime characters or Indiana Jones, velvet cloaks, Victorian attire–but there could have been little ways I could have been more myself AND helped others be more themselves too. Not nearly to the point that Stargirl takes it, but I know she’ll inspire many more young girls in years to come!

Check this one out at your local independent book store!


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