11 Books to Read if You Loved Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
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Calling all free spirits! Before you watch the Disney+ adaptation of Jerry Spinelli’s modern YA classic Stargirl, you need to read or reread the book. It’s easy to see why this story about an introverted boy who falls in love with a free-spirited girl is so popular. With themes of nonconformity, first love, and the ups and downs of high school, this highly readable novel resonates with everyone who picks it up.
If you love the book and the movie, you’ll want to add these other books to your TBR. Whether you’re in the mood for a heartfelt romance or a tear-jerking story about misfits, we’ve got you covered.
If you’re in the mood for a quirky romance, read What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum.
There’s nothing better than a quirky YA romance, and What to Say Next tips the adorkable meter off the charts. If you enjoyed watching Leo fall for the odd and unpredictable Stargirl, then Kit and David’s romance will have you grinning from ear to ear. When you’re in the mood for a feel-good romance that will have you shipping the main characters, pick this one up! You won’t regret it.
Like Stargirl, Ava doesn’t fit in. Everywhere she goes, people stop and stare. As a burn survivor, Ava’s scars are visible to everyone—the ones on the outside, at least. It isn’t until Ava meets another survivor named Piper that she starts to feel like herself again. If you like books about misfits finding their place in the world, don’t miss out on this heartfelt story!
In Stargirl, Leo feels overwhelming pressure to be “normal,” and even asks Stargirl to conform as well. All the Bright Places is another story that tackles the pressure on high school students to fit in (among other issues). If you were fascinated and horrified by the peer pressure in Stargirl, binge-read this book, and then fall in love with the story all over again in the new Netflix movie.
Surviving high school is no easy feat, and it’s necessary to have a few good friends to make it through. But what happens when you and your bestie break up? Like Stargirl, Cleo discovers that small misunderstandings can snowball until they ruin everything. As she moves forward and makes new friends, Cleo learns to forgive herself and appreciate the chance that a new beginning gives her.
If you loved the Hot Seat scenes in Stargirl, you need to have Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee on your TBR. Two girls with a local cable show dream big, make tough decisions, and plan for their futures. This fun and insightful contemporary novel will keep you happily turning pages for hours.
There aren’t a lot of YA romance novels written from the point of view of a teenage boy. If you enjoyed the point of view in Stargirl, then you’ll also like A Short History of the Girl Next Door. You’ll recognize the similar themes of friendship, basketball, and first love. However, unlike Stargirl, you will need a tissue (or twenty) to get through this novel. You’ve been warned.
Stargirl always tries to keep her chin up. In Crying Laughing, Winnie learns to do the same when her father receives a life-altering diagnosis. Even though nothing in her life seems to be working out, Winnie tries to keep smiling through it all. You’ll love this book about finding humor in the best and the worst of times.
Like Leo in Stargirl, Nevaeh has a hard time speaking up, even when she knows she should. As a biracial girl torn between the worlds of her parents, she initially goes along with everything they decide. But as she finds her voice, Nevaeh starts to speak up and speak out about what she really wants.
Stargirl is sincere and relentless in her efforts to change the world, one person at a time. If you want to read about real girls who accomplish great things when given the opportunity, pick up Girl Rising. This nonfiction book profiles dozens of girls around the world as they fight for education, equality, and the chance to make a difference.
After the death of her older sister, Julia is left alone with the crushing expectations of her family. But Julia has never been perfect like her sister was. No matter how hard she tries, it seems like she will always be a disappointment. Like Stargirl, Julia learns that perfection is a myth and the most important thing is to stay true to yourself.
Just like Leo and Stargirl, Maeve and Salix are complete opposites and don’t seem well matched at first. Maeve deals with crushing anxiety while Salix isn’t afraid of anything. These two girls meet, fall in love, and challenge each other in new ways. As it turns out, each girl is exactly what the other one needs.