Saturday, September 8, 2007

I'm sorry, Stargirl

Jerry Spinelli's new novel Love, Stargirl was a disappointing sequal to Stargirl. I've read the first book twice, and for someone with a "To Read" list as long as mine, that is a compliment. That combined with the fact that the cover of the new book is the same color as my living room, I had high hopes. Alas, the new novel didn't hold my interest enough to finish it. I stopped halfway through, frustrated by the plotlessness and the title character's new friend, the much younger and unfortunately named Dootsie.

The Stargirl of the original was an enigma, a delightfully eccentric high school student described in third person by that book's narrator. Here, Stargirl is the narrator, and either she has changed, or the magic is lost just because we are inside her head and can see that she's a pretty normal teenage girl. I like that this book featured Cinnamon the rat more prominently, but even that wasn't enough to hold my interest.

The old me would have plodded through anyhow, in the naive hope that something wonderful would suddenly happen to make the book worthwhile. The new me, who doesn't want to waste time reading books I don't enjoy, just flipped to the end and scanned through the last few pages to find that I didn't really miss much.

The aspect of this book that I disliked the most was Stargirl's friendship with Dootsie, which resulted in a great many childish conversations and adventures which made the book feel more appropriate for a younger audience than it is intended for. The friendship between Stargirl and Dootsie would probably be appealing to those who find children cute and amusing, but I do not find children particularly cute and amusing. (I know, some of you are snickering at that understatement.)

Sorry, Stargirl, but you were much more interesting before I got to know you.

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