There are characters that grab your attention because they’re charming. There are characters that you support and defend because they’re good. There are characters that you can’t forget because they’re unlike anything you’ve read or anyone you’ve met before. Then you get lucky and you come across a character that’s all of those at once.
Stargirl was not that rare kind of character.
This night Stargirl Caraway was on the field with them. As they played, rooted in their places, she pranced around the grass in her bare feet and long lemon-yellow dress. She roamed from goalpost to goalpost. She swirled like a dust devil. She marched stiffly like a wooden soldier. She tootled an imaginary flute. She pogoed into the air and knocked her bare heels together.
She was way too strange to be plausible or likable. Although I found her unusual antics quite funny, I realized that I would have thought her crazy and dangerous if I was one of the students in her high school. But then I got to know her better through Leo, and I found out that behind the exaggerated actions and odd behavior was actually a charming girl with a kind heart and an unforgettable character. Her actions were shocking but interesting especially since I’m currently in a society where conformity is the norm, and individualism results to ostracism.
Through Stargirl I got a glimpse of the beauty and dangers of nonconformity, and it reminded me of the hesitation I saw in this Japanese teenager who wanted to act differently from her classmates, of the fear I saw in this other teenager who wanted to speak against popular opinion, and the loneliness in this other girl who couldn’t fit in with her peers because she was a little different.
I mean if she’s real, she’s in big trouble. How long do you think somebody who’s really like that is going to last around here?
Honestly, I was surprised at how much the book resonated with me. Although Stargirl failed to seem real to me, I eventually empathized with her. She really was a star but there were other things to like in this book: characters who were plausible in their surprise, hate, and adoration; writing that was conversational and easy to read; and a pace that went by quickly without sacrificing content. Basically, a young adult book with enough beauty, ugliness, and truth to get 4 stars.