Love, Stargirl -- Jerry spinelli

There's a thin line between quirky, free-spirited and charming and quirky, free-spirited and annoying.  When it comes to quirk, everyone has their own limit.  Winn-Dixie?  Loved it, but I know people who wanted to flush it down the toilet.  Ida B.?  I know lots of people who loved it, but I wanted to kick my copy down the stairs.

Stargirl?  That's a little more complicated. I loved the story.  I loved that it was a realistic portrayal of a high school romance with the Weird Girl -- and that it had a realistic ending.  Leo did what 99.999% of kids would have done in that position.  Stargirl herself?  Wanted to throttle her.  So a companion novel from her perspective, for me, could go one of two ways: It could make me hate her more, or it could make me understand her a little better, and in doing so, maybe learn to see what all of her fans have seen for so long.

Love, StargirlLove, Stargirl is, as Stargirl describes it, the world's longest letter.  The letter is addressed to Leo, the boy who broke Stargirl's heart.  It begins on January first, after her family's move from Arizona, and continues on until January second of the next year.  Over the course of the year, she finds a best friend in Dootsie the six-year-old, experiences the wrath of Alvina the pip, becomes a lifeline for an agoraphobe, is fascinated by a Lemon Thief, makes friends over donuts and plans for the Winter Solstice.  And, of course, those are just the basics -- after all, this is Stargirl we're talking about.

I liked her more this time.  Mostly because of being in her head, I think.  I felt like I got to know her better -- instead of coming across as decidedly new-age-y, deliberately free-spirited and somewhat dense*, she came across as, well, a teenager who is growing up. Someone who is confused and lonely in regards to her recent experiences, yet eager to make connections with new people and always eager to learn new things and make others happy.  That isn't to say that she didn't irritate me at all -- the Why We Shouldn't Hate People conversation she has with Dootsie made me want to clonk their heads together.

I do have to admit it, even if it means getting labeled the Worst, Most Crotchety Person Ever. Dootsie.  Drove.  Me.  Bonkers.  I didn't find her adorable.  I mostly just found her bossy and obnoxious and demanding.  Don't get me wrong -- she could also be sweet and caring and hilarious (the scene at the Blobfest cracked me up) -- but overall, not a fan of the character.  And I know, I know, that there are lots of kids just like her.  But I still wasn't a fan. 

I did like Perry, though, almost despite myself.  But I don't even know what to say about his harem.

So there you have it.  Have at me.

*Again, I should mention that my problems with Stargirl aren't all her fault -- when you know an adult who aspires to be Stargirl... well, that can affect your feelings (about both Stargirl and the adult) pretty seriously.