This winsome novel is written from the perspective of a teenage boy, Leo, whose life is turned upside down by the arrival of a new student at his high school. Stargirl, as she calls herself, marches to the beat of her own, very different, drum. he dresses oddly, sings to the cafeteria crowd–accompanying herself on the ukulele, gives people flowers, and generally upsets the applecart of teenage cliques that abound at Mica High. Stargirl brings joy and cheer everywhere she goes, and manages to work her way into Leo’s heart. Stargirl’s generosity is too much for the average teen, however; and Leo ends up facing some hard choices when Stargirl’s popularity plummets and she’s no longer revered by the student body.
Stargirl leads naturally to discussions of the virtues Agape and Eros, as we see Stargirl choose to give love freely without reciprocation, as we see the way she chooses to love herself just the way she is, and as others selfishly refuse to love her in return; Justice and Fortitude, as we follow Stargirl’s meteoric fall from grace, and the strength it takes her to be true to herself; and Prudence, as we see Leo struggle with weighing the acceptance of the crowd and the company of the most unique girl he’s ever known.
This book makes us look at what we often give up of ourselves to be loved by others, and how much courage it takes to be true and loyal to others. It is also a platform for meaningful discussion on the cliques we find in schools, and whether or not it is worth the risk to blend and be one of the crowd. An RFL group of all girls also discussed the price one pays to be unique, and whether losing one’s identity (i.e., one’s “self”) is worth gaining the guy. Stargirl’s unique brand of generosity also allowed for a special morning of community service with this group. We made and anonymously delivered baby bottles to a neo-natal unit at the local hospital that serves underprivileged mothers; we made a delivered small gifts and bouquets of flowers to an area convalescent home; and we finished the morning randomly dropping change and creating life stories for shoppers at a local mall. Girls were given the Stargirl Journal and Love, Stargirl as supplemental reading after their final presentation.