Best Books for ages 10-14 #5: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (2000)

This unusual American teen novel tells the story of ‘Stargirl’, a young teenager who refuses to answer to the name she was given at birth. Stargirl doesn’t care what her peers are doing, and instead focuses on helping other people and having fun.

Told from the perspective of Leo, the more ordinary boy who falls for Stargirl, the novel considers what it means to follow your heart as well as how we act as part of a society. Set for the most part in an American high school, the story has its share of cliques and typical teen problems, but throws the genre into confusion by addressing non-conformity throughout.

If you want to think about what it means to stand out from the crowd, and how doing so will affect you as a teenager, this book provides good food for thought. The content is appropriate for younger readers, but the teenage issues might not be interesting to those not yet at secondary school. Short and easy to read, it’s a good starting point for reflective young people wanting to make the jump from children’s books to teen fiction.

By the same author: ‘Love, Stargirl’, ‘Maniac Magee’, ‘Wringer’ and more.


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