Stargirl has moved and left everything behind: Arizona, Mica High, enchanted desert places, and Leo. He's all she can think about, and her life begins to feel like a parade of unhappy anniversaries. Then Stargirl meets her wonderfully bizarre new neighbors: Dootsie, the curly-headed five-year-old "human bean"; Betty Lou, who hasn't stepped outside her house for nine years; Charlie, who sits among the tombstones; hot-tempered Alvina, with that one glittery nail; and Perry Delloplane, the blue-eyed thief who soon lays his own claim to Stargirl's heart.
In letters to Leo over the course of a year, Stargirl comes to find hope in new places: mockingbirds, donut angels, moon flowers, and the Winter Solstice. But what's life without Leo? Will he, can he, answer that one crucial question she asks every morning to the rising sun?
I love beginnings. If I were in charge of calendars, every day would be
And what better way to celebrate this New Year’s Day than to begin
writing a letter to my once (and future?) boyfriend.
I found something today. Something special. The thing is, it’s
been right in front of me ever since we moved here last year, but today
is the first time I really saw it. It’s a field. A plain old
vacant field. No house in view except a little white stucco bungalow off
to the right. It’s a mile out of town, a one-minute bike ride from
my house. It’s on a hill—the flat top of a hill shaped like
an upside-down frying pan. It used to be a pick-your-own-strawberries
patch, but now it grows only weeds and rocks.
The field is on the other side of Route 113, which is where my street
(Rapps Dam Road) dead-ends. I’ve biked past this field a hundred
times, but for some reason today I stopped. I looked at it. I parked my
bike and walked into it. The winter weeds were scraggly and matted down,
like my hair in the morning. The frozen ground was cloddy and rock-hard.
The sky was gray. I walked to the center and just stood there.
How can I explain it? Alone, on the top of that hill, in the middle of
that “empty” field (Ha!—write this down, Leo: nothing
is empty), I felt as if the universe radiated from me, as if I were
standing on the X that marked the center of the cosmos. Until then I had
done my daily meditation in many different places in and around town,
but never here. Now I did. I sat down. I barely noticed the cold ground.
I held my hands on my thighs, palms up to the world. I closed my eyes
and dissolved out of myself. I now call it washing my mind.
The next thing I noticed was a golden tinge beyond my eyelids. I opened
my eyes. The sun was seeping through the clouds. It was setting over the
treetops in the west. I closed my eyes again and let the gold wash over
Night was coming on when I got up. As I headed for my bike, I knew I had
found an enchanted place.
Oh, Leo, I’m sad. I’m crying. I used to cry a lot when I was
little. If I stepped on a bug I’d burst into tears. Funny
thing—I was so busy crying for everything else, I never cried for
myself. Now I cry for me.
And now I’m smiling through my tears. Remember the first time I
saw you? In the lunchroom? I was walking toward your table. Your
eyes—that’s what almost stopped me in my tracks. They
boggled. I think it wasn’t just the sight of me—long
frontier dress, ukulele sticking out of my sunflower shoulder
sack—it was something else too. It was terror. You knew what was
coming. You knew I was going to sing to someone, and you were terrified
it might be you. You quick looked away, and I breezed on by and
didn’t stop until I found Alan Ferko and sang “Happy
Birthday” to him. But I felt your eyes on me the whole time, Leo.
Oh yes! Every second. And with every note I sang to Alan Ferko I
thought: Someday I’m going to sing to that boy with the terrified
eyes. I never did sing to you, Leo, not really. You, of all people.
It’s my biggest regret. . . . Now, see, I’m sad again.
As I said last week, I wash my mind all over the place. Since the
idea—and ideal—is to erase myself from wherever and whenever
I am, I think I should not allow myself to become too attached to any
one location, not even Enchanted Hill, as I call it now, or to any
particular time of day or night.
So that’s why this morning I was riding my bike in search of a new
place to meditate. Cinnamon was hitching a ride in my pocket. As I rode
past a cemetery a splash of brightness caught my eye. It was a man
sitting in a chair in front of a gravestone. At least I think it was a
man, he was so bundled up against the cold. The bright splash was the
red and yellow plaid scarf he wore around his neck. He seemed to be
Before long I found myself back near my house, in a park called Bemus. I
climbed onto a picnic table and got into my meditation position. (OK,
back up . . . I’m homeschooling again. Gee, I wonder why—my
Mica High School experience went so well! Ha ha. So I have to meet all
the state requirements, right?—math, English, etc. Which I do. But
I don’t stop there. I have other courses too. Unofficial ones.
Like Principles of Swooning. Life Under Rocks. Beginner’s
Whistling. Elves. We call it our shadow curriculum. ((Don’t tell
the State of—oops, almost told you what state I’m living
in.)) My favorite shadow subject is Elements of Nothingness.
That’s where the mind wash comes in. Totally wiping myself out.
Erasing myself. (((Remember the lesson I gave you in the desert?)))
Which, when you think about it, is really not nothing. I mean, when
I’m really doing it right, getting myself totally erased,
I’m the opposite of nothing—I’m everything. I’m
everything but myself. I’ve evaporated like water vapor into the
universe. I am no longer Stargirl. I am tree. Wind. Earth.)
OK, sorry for the detour (and parenthetical overkill). . . . So there I
was, sitting cross-legged on the picnic table, eyes closed, washing my
mind (and getting school credit for it!), and suddenly I felt something
on my eyelid. Probably a bug, I thought, and promptly washed away the
thought, and the something on my eyelid just became part of everything
else. But then the something moved. It traced across my eyelid and went
down my nose and around the outline of my lips.
From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpted from "Love, Stargirl" by Jerry Spinelli. Copyright © 0 by Jerry Spinelli. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.