Two Great Reads – Stargirl and Eleanor & Park

Stargirl (Stargirl, #1)Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I ❤ Stargirl! I have read this book twice, aloud with each child at the right time.

Stargirl is a gust of flowery-fresh spring air. She leaves change where she finds it, and drops more for those who might need it. She reads community bulletin boards and newspaper fillers as research and sends handmade greeting cards of condolence, congratulations, or encouragement to neighbors, often perfect strangers. She serenades the Mica High lunchroom with her ukelele. She takes pictures of the little boy across the street and creates a scrapbook of his everyday moments to give him when he’s old enough to appreciate it. She is everyone’s biggest fan.

And that is also her downfall.

Her boyfriend, Leo, tries to explain that “they” don’t want you to cheer for the opposing team. That’s not “normal.”

But she is not normal, even when she tries. Stargirl’s nonconformity is what makes Leo – and the reader – love her. She shines the spotlight on the uncomfortable ways we choose to live normally instead of spectacularly. And we could all use more spectacular in our lives. May we all be so blessed to find, or be, a Stargirl.

 
Eleanor & ParkEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Romeo and Juliet are just two rich kids who’ve always gotten every little thing they want. And now, they think they want each other.”
“They’re in love…”
“They don’t even know each other.”
“It was love at first sight.”
“It was ‘Oh my God, he’s so cute’ at first sight.”
“Then why has it survived?”
“I don’t know, because Shakespeare is a really good writer?”
“No!”
“Because…because people want to remember what it’s like to be young? And in love?”

Eleanor and Park are no Romeo and Juliet. They’re not spoiled rich kids. They didn’t “Oh my God, he/she’s so cute” at first sight. They become star-crossed lovers, however. And we hold on that their story will end with hope.

Rainbow Rowell may not be Shakespeare, either, but she’s right that people do want to remember what it’s like to be young, and in love, and this book took me right back to high school in the 80’s. It’s beautiful and true and heart-breaking and, maybe, just maybe, hopeful.

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