From the Publisher
"Humor, graceful writing, lively characters, and important lessons about life will make this a hit with fans of Stargirl." Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"Brilliant. . . . As charming and unique as its sensitive, nonconformist heroine." School Library Journal
"Anyone who loved Jerry Spinelli's beautiful, poignant young adult novel Stargirl is in for a treat with his latest novel. Anyone who survived or is enduring the teenage years will repeatedly recognize him or herself in these pagesand find the book hard to put down." St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Touching and inspiring." VOYA
"The many readers who loved the first book will embrace this sequel." Booklist
KLIATT - Paula Rohrlick
In this sequel to Stargirl, the free-spirited, openhearted title character gets to tell her own story in the form of "the World's Longest Letter" to her ex-boyfriend Leo. It's really more of a series of journal entries as delightfully offbeat Stargirl tells of events over the course of a year in her new home in a small town in Pennsylvania, far away from Arizona and Leo. She's lonely and pining for him, but soon meets some entertainingly wacky neighbors, from impudent five-year-old Dootsie to angry adolescent Alvina, kind but agrophobic Betsy Lou, widowed Charlie, who talks to his dead wife in the graveyard daily, and handsome Perry, a thief who almost steals Stargirl's heart. The winter solstice project that this kind, home schooled, hippie-ish 15-year-old undertakes brings together all her new friends, and helps to bring hope back into her life, too. Fans of Stargirl will be charmed by this satisfying sequel.
VOYA - Vikki Terrile
One of Spinelli's most memorable characters returns her to tell her own story. Nearly a year after leaving Arizona and Leo Borlock behind, Stargirl, homeschooling again in Pennsylvania, is trying to get past her high school experience. Unable to forget her love for Leo, she writes him the world's longest letter and shares her life without him. In her debut novel, Stargirl was magical, as alien as her fellow students thought her to be. In this book, she is both as extraordinary as expected and surprisingly real. Readers who loved her as the free-spirited object of Leo's conflicted affections will see the heartbroken but enduring Stargirl as a friend, a character to whom they can relate. Spinelli fills the novel with unforgettable characters-six-year-old Dootsie, agoraphobic divorcee Betty Lou, and Alvina, a fierce and confused tween. The other teens in the novel regrettably are the least interesting. Perry, perhaps the boy who will replace Leo in Stargirl's heart, is an alleged bad-boy, with a fan club of bright, funny girls, but he, like Leo, is never so spectacular that readers can understand the fascination. Although the letter format adds little to the story, this book completes the touching and inspiring story of Spinelli's beloved heroine, and readers who have been unable to forget her in the seven years since she appeared are sure to be eager to meet her again.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
In Jerry Spinelli's sequel (Knopf, 2007) to Stargirl (Knopf, 2000), Stargirl and her family have moved from Arizona and are living in Pennsylvania. Listeners join Stargirl a year after she was dumped by her boyfriend, Leo. Stargirl shares her life through her self-proclaimed "world's longest letter" to Leo, introducing several eccentric people: Dootsie, a precocious six-year-old girl; Betty Lou, an agoraphobic divorcee; Alvina, a lively 11-year-old girl with an occasional temper; and the mysterious Perry, a boy who often evokes unsettling emotions in Stargirl. With experiences that bring alternating happiness and sadness, Stargirl begins to find acceptance. On occasion, parts of the letter drag a bit. Mandy Siegfried gives each character a unique voice, and her perfectly pitched and well-timed narration brings listeners into Stargirl's world. While a familiarity with the first novel would be helpful, this sequel does stand on its own.-Stephanie A. Squicciarini, Fairport Public Library, NY
Fifteen-year-old Susan "Stargirl" Caraway has moved to Pennsylvania, but as independent and free-spirited as she is, she can't seem to let go of Arizona and her old boyfriend Leo Borlock. She's lonely, even in the midst of a loving family and a colorful cast of characters in her new town. There's five-year-old spitfire Dootsie, agoraphobic Betty Lou, angry Alvina, Margie the donut queen and mysterious Perry, a potential new boy in Stargirl's life. As much as readers will relish this community and wish Stargirl would get on with her life there and forget mooning over Leo, she can't seem to, and the whole leisurely paced novel is "the world's longest letter" to him. Humor, graceful writing, lively characters and important lessons about life will make this a hit with fans of Stargirl (2000) and anyone who likes a quiet, reflective novel. Those meeting Stargirl here for the first time will want to read the previous work to see if Leo is worthy of her devotion. (Fiction. 11-14)
Read an Excerpt
I love beginnings. If I were in charge of calendars, every day would be January 1.
And what better way to celebrate this New Year’s Day than to begin writing a letter to my once (and future?) boyfriend.
I found something today. Something special. The thing is, it’s been right in front of me ever since we moved here last year, but today is the first time I really saw it. It’s a field. A plain old vacant field. No house in view except a little white stucco bungalow off to the right. It’s a mile out of town, a one-minute bike ride from my house. It’s on a hill—the flat top of a hill shaped like an upside-down frying pan. It used to be a pick-your-own-strawberries patch, but now it grows only weeds and rocks.
The field is on the other side of Route 113, which is where my street (Rapps Dam Road) dead-ends. I’ve biked past this field a hundred times, but for some reason today I stopped. I looked at it. I parked my bike and walked into it. The winter weeds were scraggly and matted down, like my hair in the morning. The frozen ground was cloddy and rock-hard. The sky was gray. I walked to the center and just stood there.
How can I explain it? Alone, on the top of that hill, in the middle of that “empty” field (Ha!—write this down, Leo: nothing is empty), I felt as if the universe radiated from me, as if I were standing on the X that marked the center of the cosmos. Until then I had done my daily meditation in many different places in and around town, but never here. Now I did. I sat down. I barely noticed the cold ground. I held my hands on my thighs, palms up to the world. I closed my eyes and dissolved out of myself. I now call it washing my mind.
The next thing I noticed was a golden tinge beyond my eyelids. I opened my eyes. The sun was seeping through the clouds. It was setting over the treetops in the west. I closed my eyes again and let the gold wash over me.
Night was coming on when I got up. As I headed for my bike, I knew I had found an enchanted place.
Oh, Leo, I’m sad. I’m crying. I used to cry a lot when I was little. If I stepped on a bug I’d burst into tears. Funny thing—I was so busy crying for everything else, I never cried for myself. Now I cry for me.
And now I’m smiling through my tears. Remember the first time I saw you? In the lunchroom? I was walking toward your table. Your eyes—that’s what almost stopped me in my tracks. They boggled. I think it wasn’t just the sight of me—long frontier dress, ukulele sticking out of my sunflower shoulder sack—it was something else too. It was terror. You knew what was coming. You knew I was going to sing to someone, and you were terrified it might be you. You quick looked away, and I breezed on by and didn’t stop until I found Alan Ferko and sang “Happy Birthday” to him. But I felt your eyes on me the whole time, Leo. Oh yes! Every second. And with every note I sang to Alan Ferko I thought: Someday I’m going to sing to that boy with the terrified eyes. I never did sing to you, Leo, not really. You, of all people. It’s my biggest regret. . . . Now, see, I’m sad again.
As I said last week, I wash my mind all over the place. Since the idea—and ideal—is to erase myself from wherever and whenever I am, I think I should not allow myself to become too attached to any one location, not even Enchanted Hill, as I call it now, or to any particular time of day or night.
So that’s why this morning I was riding my bike in search of a new place to meditate. Cinnamon was hitching a ride in my pocket. As I rode past a cemetery a splash of brightness caught my eye. It was a man sitting in a chair in front of a gravestone. At least I think it was a man, he was so bundled up against the cold. The bright splash was the red and yellow plaid scarf he wore around his neck. He seemed to be talking.
Before long I found myself back near my house, in a park called Bemus. I climbed onto a picnic table and got into my meditation position. (OK, back up . . . I’m homeschooling again. Gee, I wonder why—my Mica High School experience went so well! Ha ha. So I have to meet all the state requirements, right?—math, English, etc. Which I do. But I don’t stop there. I have other courses too. Unofficial ones. Like Principles of Swooning. Life Under Rocks. Beginner’s Whistling. Elves. We call it our shadow curriculum. ((Don’t tell the State of—oops, almost told you what state I’m living in.)) My favorite shadow subject is Elements of Nothingness. That’s where the mind wash comes in. Totally wiping myself out. Erasing myself. (((Remember the lesson I gave you in the desert?))) Which, when you think about it, is really not nothing. I mean, when I’m really doing it right, getting myself totally erased, I’m the opposite of nothing—I’m everything. I’m everything but myself. I’ve evaporated like water vapor into the universe. I am no longer Stargirl. I am tree. Wind. Earth.)
OK, sorry for the detour (and parenthetical overkill). . . . So there I was, sitting cross-legged on the picnic table, eyes closed, washing my mind (and getting school credit for it!), and suddenly I felt something on my eyelid. Probably a bug, I thought, and promptly washed away the thought, and the something on my eyelid just became part of everything else. But then the something moved. It traced across my eyelid and went down my nose and around the outline of my lips.