Study Guide

Stargirl

By Jerry Spinelli

Stargirl Introduction

Hey, you! Yeah, you.

You, reading this right now.

Have you seen the new girl yet?

You haven't? Seriously?

Well, come on! You have to check her out. She is wearing the strangest outfit, and she's playing a ukulele and singing "Happy Birthday" to Alan Ferko in the cafeteria as we speak. And no! She doesn't even know Alan! Oh, and did I mention that she has a pet rat with her?

Come on, let's go!

Readers, Shmoop has a question: what would you be thinking and doing at this point? Are you running up the stairs to the cafeteria? Do you hope to meet someone interesting and new who you will welcome with open arms, or are you secretly hoping to witness a train wreck of humiliation? Maybe it's a little bit of both?

You arrive in the cafeteria and there she is. Her name is Stargirl, and she is unlike anyone you have ever met. Do you go and introduce yourself, or do you smirk and give her the side eye while everyone around you calls her a freak? What do you do?

That question, readers, is what Stargirl is all about. Chances are you may have already read something written by Jerry Spinelli. He is the author of several wonderful books for young readers, including Maniac McGee, which won the Newbery Medal, which is a Pretty Big Deal.

Stargirl is just as good. See, it's about a fantastically unique individual named – you guessed it – Stargirl. At least, that is her name for the time being. She believes that names are kind of like sweaters. When they fit nicely, you wear them, but eventually you outgrow them or they get worn, so you get a new one. She is the new girl at Mica High, and boy, does she stir things up faster than the speed of starlight. She's quirky, sure, but she's also super smart. Stargirl has all sorts of interesting ideas about life and the world around us. Care to give her a chance?

In Stargirl, you will read about her meteoric rise to popularity, and all its consequences. You will experience all of this through the eyes of Leo, our narrator and her eventual boyfriend. It's a bumpy ride for Stargirl and Leo. Will it be a happy ending? Well, that depends.

Only one thing is certain. It will be a happy ending for you if you take the time to listen to our girl Stargirl. She's got some serious wisdom to impart.

What is Stargirl About and Why Should I Care?

One of the toughest parts about growing up is figuring out how to balance being a confident, unique individual with being someone who is also a valuable member of society, and that is exactly what with book deals with.

If you have ever felt society's pressure to conform, you will appreciate Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl, and if you are one of those rare people who is able to express herself without fear of what others will say, you will find a kindred spirit in Stargirl herself. In fact, you have a lot to gain by reading her story:

  • You just might remember the importance of being yourself and expressing yourself with confidence.
  • You just might renew your belief that there are truly good people in the world. Who knows? Maybe it will even inspire you to be the kindest, best version of yourself possible.
  • You just might see the world in a whole new light. Stargirl sure does. And she doesn't care who knows it.

So, Shmoopers, find your quirkiest self, you know, the one you keep hidden until you're around those who love you just for who you are, and let it loose for all the world to see.

Stargirl Resources

Websites

Jerry Spinelli
The spellbinding Spinelli's very own official website, where you can check out new releases and get the scoop on Stargirl and more.

Stargirl Societies
Create your own. Ukulele not included.

"He's A Man of Many Words"
The lowdown on the high art of Spinelli's writing.

Local Hero
Spinelli is getting back to his roots. And no, we don't mean he's eating turnips.

"Goal to Go"
Spinelli's a poet. Do you think he knows it? He did in high school, when he wrote this baby.

From the Horse's Mouth
Read Spinelli's own story of how he became a writer. And how he keeps doing it all these years.

Video

Eileen and Jerry Spinelli Classroom Cast
This adorable writer couple chats about their editing marriage, and gives us the scoop on some of their most popular books, including Stargirl.

Meet the Author: Jerry Spinelli
He's pleased to meet you, too.

Articles and Interviews

TeenInk Reviews Stargirl
Read a review of your new favorite novel written by young folks like you.

Books

Love, Stargirl
If Stargirl floats your boat, then be sure to check out the sequel.

Images

Cover Art
Star plus girl equals Stargirl.

Jerry Spinelli
Our man reads from our book. And he looks pretty happy to be doing so.