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I pledge allegiance to the United Turtles of America and to the fruit bats of Borneo, one planet in the Milky Way, incredible, with justice and black bean burritos for all.

There are all kinds of books.

There are funny books and informative books and comfort books and junky books… and things like Twilight which Perfect Husband refuses to catagorize as a book at all. When I say, “can you hand me my book?” and gesture at a Meyer novel, he responds irritably “that’s not a book!”

But some books are more than just books.

Some books have a soul.

She laughed when there was no joke. She danced when there was no music.

She had no friends, but she was the friendliest person in school.

In her answers in class, she often spoke of seahorses and stars, but she did not know what a football was.

Stargirl is one of those books.

Whenever I read this book, I emerge feeling reverent, and sad, and joyful, and somehow cleansed.

I am a stone, a cactus thorn. I am rain

Cleansed of what? Conformity, perhaps. Selfishness. Obliviousness. Or maybe it’s more what I have been given. New eyes to see with, a new heart to feel with. A feeling of guilt. A feeling of hope that I can change.

She was bendable light: she shone around every corner of my day.

She taught me to revel. She taught me to wonder. She taught me to laugh.

It is a celebration, more than anything else.

For years the strangers among us had passed sullenly in the halls; now we looked, we nodded, we smiled. If someone got an A, others celebrated, too. If someone sprained an ankle, others felt the pain. We discovered the colour of each other’s eyes. 

It was a rebellion she led. A rebellion for, rather than against. For ourselves. 

But there is a wistfulness, too. A feeling of “wouldn’t it be nice?” A sense of opportunities lost, and lessons not learned in time.

The Amish in Pennsylvania have a word for it.”

“What’s that?” I said.

“Shunning.

Like a flower or a newborn baby, it makes me marvel at how something so small can be so perfect. Spinelli’s prose is concise and flawless, and it has the same delicious flavour of legend you find in Maniac Magee. The story is short and simple – you could read it in an afternoon – but will change the way you see the world.

Stargirl, you just can’t do things the way you do.[…]You can’t just wake up in the morning and say you don’t care what the rest of the world thinks.”

Her eyes were wide, her voice peepy like a little girl’s.

“You can’t?

…at least, for a while.

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