As the story begins, Leo Borlock receives a porcupine necktie to add to his collection as a birthday present from a mysterious sender. That next school year, a new girl joins Mica Valley High School. This new girl, who calls herself Stargirl, stands out in the crowd of ordinary high schoolers. As Leo finds out, she has been homeschooled up until this year.
Stargirl is by no means ordinary. She has a sunflower bag, in which her pet rat, Cinnamon, rides with her to school every day. She brings a ukulele to school to sing “Happy Birthday” to every kid celebrating a birthday. She even sets a vase containing a fresh flower on her desk for each one of her classes at the start of each week.
What is your favorite characteristic about Stargirl? Do you do anything that is similar to her actions? What would you do if a student like Stargirl showed up at your school?
In his case, Leo and his friend, Kevin, go to see the mentor and wise man of their town, Archie. Archie’s description of Stargirl fascinates the boys. As Leo and Kevin find out, Stargirl is just a name the new girl gave herself. She has named herself several times before. Her previous names include Mudpie and Hullygully, and her birth name: Susan Caraway.
Stargirl (or Susan as she renames herself during one part of the school year) experiences many highs and lows in regard to her acceptance while at the high school. If a student like Stargirl showed up at your school, what would you think of her? Would you and your friends welcome her at your lunch table? Would you be embarrassed if she sang “Happy Birthday” to you?
As Archie’s wise words say at the end of the story, people like Stargirl, who seem so close to Earth’s beginnings, are very special people. Stargirl is someone who is proud to be herself. I would love to hear about any “Stargirls” or “Starboys” you know. What makes them unique? Please write in the comments section below.
Still want to find out more about Stargirl? Read the book! And its sequel, Love, Stargirl. I recommend Stargirl to middle schoolers and up; I would rate this book a 9 out of 10.
-Leila S. (8th gade)