Stargirl is a young adult novel written by Jerry Spinelli that focuses on the correlation of conformity and popularity in high schools. The book was well received by critics, earning the Parents Choice Gold Award; Stargirl was also a New York Times Bestseller, an ALA Top Ten Best Books Award winner, and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. The sequel Love, Stargirl was released on August 14th, 2007.
Leo, the male protagonist, is part of the “we”, the large mass of students who actively try to be the same. There is no difference besides the formality of names and appearances, and even then it is slight. That is, until Stargirl arrives; taking the school by storm with her ukulele playing, rain dancing, happy birthday singing antics. She is, at first, rebuffed by the entire student body, seen as different and therefore not welcomed; however, one day, as if in the blink of eye, Stargirl is the most popular girl in school. Students soon embrace her quirky style and then, miraculously, their own quirks.
The message within Stargirl is one of individuality and loyalty: whether or not the characters and, through internal questioning, the reader are willing to question belief and the actions of the majority. The book is wrought with issues of popularity and of whether losing yourself is worth being liked, even if those who like you don’t actually know you.