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Sunday, March 16, 2014

[REVIEW] Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Love, Stargirl

Author: Jerry Spinelli
Genre: YA Contemporary, Romance
Series: sequel to Stargirl
Published: Published August 14th 2007 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Purchase from Amazon | The Book Depository

LOVE, STARGIRL picks up a year after Stargirl ends and reveals the new life of the beloved character who moved away so suddenly at the end ofStargirl. The novel takes the form of "the world's longest letter," in diary form, going from date to date through a little more than a year's time. In her writing, Stargirl mixes memories of her bittersweet time in Mica, Arizona, with involvements with new people in her life.

In Love, Stargirl, we hear the voice of Stargirl herself as she reflects on time, life, Leo, and - of course - love.

*may contain spoilers to Stargirl*

Stargirl would have been enough. I could have lived not knowing what happened to Stargirl after she left Arizona. And I would have been contented. But still I dived into Love, Stargirl because I was curious if she and Leo would ever be together again. By the end of the book, I got the answer. The question now is: Did I regret my decision to read Love, Stargirl? Yes and no.

I had a love and hate relationship with Stargirl all the time I was reading the book. Sometimes I wanted to hug and comfort her; other times I just wanted to shake her so hard and pound some sense into her. Don’t get me wrong. She’s wonderful and kind and unique, but there were times that I just find her frustrating and childish. I mean, she’s sixteen but she was acting like a twelve-year-old. I hated the way she acted around Perry. That’s not the Stargirl I loved in the first book. That’s some silly, lovesick teenager. I really didn’t get at all why she got attracted to Perry. They have absolutely nothing in common. Man, how relieved I was when Stargirl finally realized how she really felt. 

All that aside, I still love Stargirl. (I realize that it’s only when she’s thinking about and hanging out with Perry that I don’t like Stargirl. Pfft. That particular infatuation wasn’t cute at all. Team Leo all the way!) I found her friendship with Dootsie really adorable. How many sixteen-year-olds nowadays would be friends with a very energetic six-year-old? Like what Mrs. Caraway said, she’s the little sister Stargirl never had. I liked that. It was also good to see how Stargirl affected Alvina in the littlest ways. The change in Betty Lou. The friendship with Charlie. The talk with Arnold. That’s the Stargirl I knew.

I thought the reason why Stargirl’s beginning to sound normal to me was because I was reading from her perspective. Somehow, the novelty of Stargirl disappeared. Or faded, at least. I realized (again!) that she’s beginning to sound normal because in her mind, she’s perfectly normal. That the things she does are normal. Like marking the sunrise every week for months until Winter Solstice. Or having a pet rat. Or befriending an agoraphobic. Or “babysitting” a grumpy eleven-year-old. Or writing the longest letter to the boy who broke her heart. Those are perfectly normal things in Stargirl standards. And they’re all amazing and admirable.

A lot of things in Love, Stargirl made me tear up. Cinnamon after the fire. (Enough said.) Cinnamon and Arnold. Winter Solstice. (It was overwhelming even though I couldn’t see it with my eyes. I felt it.) Stargirl’s question to Leo. Leo’s answer. (Goosebumps all over!)

And the ending! It made me sad and happy and hopeful at the same time. It was a nice kind of sad, though. Just the tiny ache in your chest from all the hope bursting inside you. You know what I mean? That’s what I felt. I’m happy that Stargirl got the answer she’s been waiting for. And it’s an answer that made her happy and at peace with herself and the fact that even though she and Leo are apart now, there’s still hope.

I don’t exactly regret reading Love, Stargirl. I liked it. But as I said, I could live with just Stargirl. While the sequel is also fascinating, I loved and enjoyed the first book more. Nonetheless, Love, Stargirl is still a good read.

“A little hatred goes a long, long way. It grows and grows. And it’s hungry. . . You keep feeding it more and more people, and the more it gets, the more it wants. It’s never satisfied. And pretty soon it squeezes all the love out of your heart and all you’ll have left is a hateful heart.”

“Someday in the far future, when the Milky Way has turned another cosmic click, will someone carry a chair to your grave site and keep you company forever? Can you imagine someone loving you that much?”

“Live today. Not tomorrow. Just today. Inhabit your moments. Don’t rent them out to tomorrow.”

“Don’t ever throw yourself out to a man.”

“My armpits hurt from the crutches. My leg itches under the plastic splint I have to wear whenever I’m not sleeping. I still can’t take a deep breath, but even if I could it wouldn’t help my heart. I miss my Cinnamon. My littlest friend. I hurt where no crutch or splint can reach.” 

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Julie @ Books and Insomnia

Julie is a Filipina blogger who pretends she has insomnia so she can stay up late reading. When she's not buried in books, she can be found watching anime, drinking chocolate-flavored instant coffee, lurking on the internet, daydreaming and talking about herself in third person. She loves purple and anything sweet!

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