This is one of those rare books for which you can allow your heart to open wide and let the story sink deep. It’s a series for every teenage girl: just reading it makes you a better person, teaching you to laugh, to listen, to enjoy, to love, to care…

The story takes us through the main character’s first year in a new high school, where her disregard for the rules of adolescent behaviour and genuine lack of concern for what others think of her sets her peers a challenge they may not be ready for.

In spite of the attractive eccentricity of the main character, Stargirl is more real than any other book for teens. It is set in the erratic climate of teen emotions, realistically depicted through ordinary events and conversations. These are presented from a variety of points of view, creating a web of relationships and perspectives that reflects the reality of a life truly lived with others.

And through it all we gain a richer understanding of humanity, not a theoretical understanding, but the practical wisdom gained from having emotions stretched and purified through the struggle to put others before oneself. Stargirl meets you where you are and shows you how to be better. It moulds character with such a light and breezy style that while aware that you are feeling, you don’t realise that you are learning. And the story continues in the sequel “Love, Stargirl”, which is just as good as the first.

Put in the right hands at the right time Spinelli’s books are gold. If they could have a spiritual comparison they would be Jacques Philippe in story form, for a younger audience. They teach you how to truly live in the present, sharing your life with others.

Watch this interview with Jerry Spinelli where he speaks about his writing, his inspiration and his message.



Clare Cannon lives in Sydney where she is the manager of Portico Books.

Clare Cannon lives in Sydney where she is editor of The Good Reading Guide and manager of Portico Books,...