I cannot express how much Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli means to me. I first read it when I was around 10. I always felt out of place and different. A lot of kids feels that way and have no way to articulate it especially to other kids who might feel the exact someway. So when I first opened the simplistic teal cover, I felt validated for the first time. Different is special. Everyone is different. Everyone is special. It was as simple as that. Stargirl Carraway was my hero, my saviour and well me.
From the moment I read it, I had imagined this character actualized on to film. Variations of what a movie would look like danced around my head for years. So when I heard they were actually going to making a movie out of the book I hold the closest to my heart, I was excited rather than focused on it being years too late. Instead I was hoping for Stargirl to reach other kids who needed her much as I did.
I can easily see people who could write off this movie as like every other teen movie. That it’s cheesy and cliche. That might be true. The movie changed things somewhat but it always rang through to how I remember Stargirl. She shines with her pure nature, empathetic spirit and her well meaning soul. It’s all I wanted from this movie was the embrace I felt when I was young that it was okay to be yourself no matter who that was. Not everyone will get it and some may not even like you for who you are. But as long as you’re truthful to yourself, you’ll find happiness. I can’t say I was able to follow that to a tee. But I do think with the help of this story and my constant rereading of it, I was able to project this mentality into my own life much sooner than my peers.
Leo is our vessel in the story. Someone whose life was complete enough and didn’t know they needed anything more nor really looked for it. Completely submissive to their role in the world. Then Stargirl makes her entrance and radically shakes not only Leo but everyone around her. Stargirl is simply a girl not jaded by the world. She sees the best in everyone and she doesn’t see the flaws in being different. Events transpire to have Stargirl begin to question herself and sink into many pitfalls many teenagers face. It’s her ability to come to the other side of the negativity and bring Leo along with her that makes this such a beautiful and simple story. One I will never forget.
I hope this movie is as special to someone as the book was to me. I hope people who have never read it will now open it up for the first time and sink deeper into the world of Stargirl, Leo and of course the most amazing rat ever Cinnamon. I hope older audiences can see this as more than a silly teen movie and transport themselves back to who they felt at that age. And I hope most of all that Stargirl gains new life as a light to those who need her.