Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

21 01 2012


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.

In my review of Stargirl , I mentioned that I had read this in an English class previously and then bought a physical copy of the book as well. When I bought my copy of Stargirl , I decided to get a copy of Love, Stargirl as well. 

The book is a companion novel to the events that happen after Stargirl , and the novel should be read after you finish reading the first book, as the companion novel does give away some major events from the first. About a year after leaving, Stargirl has moved to Pennsylvania. She has returned to homeschooling and soon makes friends with an abundance of quirky neighbors: sweet and mysterious Perry; tomboy Alvina; “human bean” Dootsie; and Betty Lou, the agoraphobic who hasn’t left her home in nine years. Stargirl decides to put on a winter solstice celebration, welcoming the rising sun and the birth of summer, and wishes that Leo would answer the question she asks to the rising sun. 

This book is a lot different than the first. There isn’t much plot, really. The novel focuses more on the characters, whereas the first novel was very plot-based. It was hard for me to write the description above because I honestly couldn’t find much for me to describe without spoiling. 

So, the characters first. I grew to like Stargirl a lot more in this book. I liked her character in the first book, of course, but at times it was hard for me to relate to her. I grew to like her more as I discovered her feelings and thoughts and wishes and dreams — from her own perspective. In the beginning of the book Stargirl is a bit mopey about losing Leo, etc etc. This put me off initially because I really hate girls that throw themselves at boys, and this “longing” seemed way out of Stargirl’s character. But she matured past the longing, and it was a pleasure to read the book. 

All of Stargirl’s friends were “quirky” and “unique”. This annoyed me a bit because it essentially said that Stargirl could only have quirky and unique friends, when she had plenty of other “non-quirky” friends in the first book. Perry Delloplane was a good love interest though I liked Leo better for a match with Stargirl. Spinelli never really explains what happens with Perry and Stargirl’s relationship, and that annoyed me because he plans to write no more sequels. I suppose he wanted to leave the readers hanging but there seemed to be no conclusion or even answers to how Perry felt. Dootsie and Alvina were both cute and funny and very well developed. Betty Lou was a really fascinating character, and I liked seeing how she developed and changed. She seemed like a character that could possibly hold up an entire novel. All of the characters were very well developed and sweet even if they were sometimes too “quirky” for their own good. 

Now, for the plot. This book is written in journal format and I think that made it more accessible. Stargirl is written in an almost detached tone, but this novel was much easier to read and I felt more engrossed in the story. It was easier to connect to the story. Like I mentioned before, the story is much more character based, but I liked the way the author drove the plot to the climax of the winter solstice ceremony. 

Love, Stargirl was a good read. It was interesting to see what happened to Stargirl and to see that she had matured and come to understand herself better. If you enjoyed Stargirl this would be an interesting read, but if you disliked the first novel this isn’t a necessary read. 

Four stars.

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