Living in the now: a review of Love, Stargirl

Love, Stargirl by Jerry SpinelliI just finished Love, Stargirl (2007) by Jerry Spinelli. And I have not been able to pick up another book because I don’t want to lose the feeling of satisfaction that came from finishing it. At first, I didn’t think that this book could be as good as it’s “prequel” Stargirl, but now I’m hard-pressed to say which was better.

Love, Stargirl picks up where Stargirl left off. She has left Mica High in Arizona and, more importantly, her boyfriend Leo. The story reads as a year-long letter to Leo as Stargirl lives life as only she can and tries to understand how things went wrong with Leo and what her feelings are for him now.

Spinelli brings in a lot of memorable characters. My favorites are Charlie and Betty Lou. Betty Lou, particularly, has a special place in my heart because she gives some of the best advice I have ever heard when she tells Stargirl to live in the now and make the most of each today that she finds. Which, being Stargirl, she does. As the story progresses, Stargirl changes from a stranger to an integral part of her new hometown. Through small kindnesses, unexpected friendships, and leaving behind lots of oranges, Stargirl makes as much of an impression here in Pennsylvania as she did at Mica High–maybe even more.

The entire novel, especially the ending, is magical. I am as enchanted with Stargirl now as I was when I read Spinelli’s first novel about her. It was refreshing to see this amazing girl’s thoughts and hear things from her point of view (the first book is told in Leo’s POV). If you aren’t touched by Stargirl and her little kindnesses and the beauty of this book, then you are beyond all help. These books are fairly quick reads with straightforward prose, but both are the rare books that I feel strongly everyone should read. I think that if everyone tried to be a little more like Stargirl the world would be a better place.

Possible Pairings: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley, The Blue Girl by Charles De Lint, Paper Towns by John Green, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, Holes by Louis Sachar

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16 thoughts on “Living in the now: a review of Love, Stargirl

  1. Hi I just want to say i absloutly love this book its really great so sad when it was over. when i read stargirl in 3rd grade i want to be exally like her.

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  2. umh, i had to read this for a book talk thingy and the book didn’t turn out to be that bad lmao, and the only reason im writing this is because im really bored, okay now bye

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  3. Fatique,beautiful,every thing that describes a fantastic book Love Stargirl is it!I was inspired by how much Jerry Spinneli made Stargirl a nice sensitive and sweet person!

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  4. I like how Stargirl is her own person. She really inspired me to be myself and by doing so i’ve made a lot more friends liek myself. 5 star book. its absolutley magical.

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  5. I have not yet read “Love, Stargirl”, however I am excited to read it! I read “Stargirl” over the summer and loved it. It taught me that people should not just live for themselves, but should also live for others in a kind, loving way. =)

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  6. Is this the only sequel Jerry Spinelli ever wrote for his standalones? I’m grateful; the first book had a solid conclusion but I absolutely needed to spend more time in the universe. Never agreed with the general consensus that removing the mystery of Stargirl’s thought process would dilute her spirituality. Her siding with Leo ultimately shocked me – I felt the chemistry with Perry and was gearing up for Leo to be set into the rearview mirror. It impressed me too, as much as I identified with Leo (and his cowardice) I never thought that she would still love him as hard as she did. I found myself pining for Leo’s interaction with Dori, I never thought Dori would forgive him and certainly never imagined them becoming friends. There’s no way we’re getting another sequel but I’d love to see one just to see their encounter.

    Only thing I was unsure about is how Stargirl making the decision to stop being so eager to cross paths with Leo / wanting their reunion to NOT be planned ties into the first book’s epilogue where Leo gets the present that could only be from her. Anyway thanks for all your coverage on this, it’s hard to find sites that discuss the material outside of school/essay-writing which is not what I’m looking for.

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    • I believe this is the only sequel (so far anyway). I always took it as Stargirl realizing she had to re-focus on herself after losing a bit of herself trying to become Susan to fit in better with Leo and everyone else at school. At least that seemed to be why she was willing to set Leo aside for now.

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