young love

Book Review: Stargirl

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Written by Jerry Spinelli 
Published May 14, 2002 by Knopf Books for Young Readers 
Topics: School Situations, Young Love, Individuality
Young Adult, 208 pages 

Stargirl is unlike any girl at Mica High School, because she doesn’t try to be like “them”. Instead, Stargirl is only content to be herself. As soon as she arrives at Mica her name is whispered in the hallways and she gets curious stares from classmates, because she’s nothing like “them”. Stargirl wears long skirts, plays a ukulele, sings Happy Birthday to everyone, and even brings her pet rat named Cinnamon to school. Stargirl is also sincere and deeply cares for others without seeking acknowledgment.  Students begin to wonder if she notices the stares and if she’ll ever become more like them.

Opinions about Stargirl gradually change at Mica High as she’s admired. People desire to see her unique spirit at sporting games. However, events occur and just as fast as people grow to appreciate her it’s suddenly taken away again.

The book is told from Leo Borlock’s perspective who is torn between amazement that Stargirl doesn’t conform to others and desires that she act more like “them”. A love between Leo and Stargirl slowly develops, but Leo is often unsure if he can handle the stares as well. However, Stargirl doesn’t do “normal” well.

I thought Stargirl was an enjoyable book that makes you think about what’s truly important. Is it more important to dare to be different or be among many? Jerry Spinelli is a Newbery Medal Winner for Maniac Magee. There is a sequel, Love, Stargirl, that is from her perspective a year later. Stargirl won numerous awards including ALA’s Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults in 2001.


Book & Film Review: Flipped

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by Wendlin Van Draanen

Ages 10 & up, 224 pages

Flipped is an adorable book about young love and coming-of-age. The first time Juli Baker looked into Bryce Loski’s eyes she flipped for him and desires her first kiss. They meet in second grade when Bryce moves across the street. Bryce wishes he could have space from Juli even though they hardly talk. The book flips perspectives between Bryce and Juli, so the reader learns their struggles as they deal with life and feelings. Bryce’s grandfather lives with his family and he questions Bryce why he isn’t Juli’s friend. Bryce hasn’t realized that Juli is the ‘girl next door’ with spunk and tries everything to get rid of her. Gossip, misunderstandings, and situations occur and their feelings for each other flip: Bryce soon can’t stop thinking about Juli and Juli doesn’t want to speak to Bryce ever again. Will they ever flip for each other at the same time? Flipped is a very humorous and sweet book with adolescent love struggles.


Directed by Rob Reiner

PG, 90 minutes – 2010

I saw the movie before I read the book. I didn’t even realize it was based upon a book until the credits. Bryce Loski is played by Callan McAuliffe and Juli Baker is played by Madeline Carroll. The film is set during the late 1950s and early 60s, unlike the book that didn’t really provide an exact time frame. I thought the movie was very close to the book and the reader won’t be disappointed. It’s a family friendly movie with no violence, perhaps three swear words used the entire film, no real ‘sensitive’ topics (besides their feelings for each other), and provides wonderful awkward moments during junior high that I’m sure many viewers can relate to. I highly suggest this delightful movie!