I just finished reading Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli to my daughter (12 1/2 years old). He has also written one of our favorites, Maniac Magee, as well as Milkweed, Wringer, Crash, and My Daddy and Me. Stargirl is very simiar to Maniac Magee, in a sense. This book is about a teenager who is quite different from her peers. She has a very carefree, natural, sincere and caring nature all her own. Her differences eventually lead to her being shunned by her classmates who have trouble understanding and accepting her. When she tries to be like them she is still ostracized and eventually returns to herself, only to finally win them over.
We liked Stargirl and it was amazing how many people in my daughter's class at school were similar to some of the characters in the book. This provided for interesting discussions about school friends and how they act. Even though the ending was somewhat predictable, Spinelli's Stargirl makes the reader think about differences in people and how we react to them. I think it is a book best read aloud to lower and middle school students so they will get the most out of the story. Older readers who read it alone will enjoy it as a quick, fun read with a message.