Sunday, April 17, 2011

Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate

Why should you read it?
You may come to realize that we take some of our most common resources for granted such as grocery stores and dishwashers.  People from third world countries may react differently to the things we are used to because they have never been exposed to them.  I felt an appreciation form for minor things that others in other parts of the world are deprived of and my heart goes out to all those that are currently suffering.  Students will become aware of wars that are not commonly heard of and learn about the existance of refugee camps. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

The good girl version of Alaska: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Interesting Facts:
This book is labeled as a young adult novel and is a bit of a love story.  There is a sequel to this book titled "Love, Stargirl."  The first book was narrated by Leo (the boyfriend) and the sequel is written in letter form by Stargirl as a letter to Leo. 

About the book:
One of my favorite YA books is Looking for Alaska.  Alaska is the pretty bad girl in the novel and readers quickly are enamored with her unpredictable personality.  I guess that is why I was enchanted with the character of Stargirl (Susan).  She is the queen of unpredictability and so full of life! When she first arrives at Mica High in Arizona, she takes everyone by surprise with her actions, which they consider just plain weird.  However, there is something about her that captures everyones' attention.  Soon her differences and personality are what make her the most popular girl in school.  Unfortunately, with a sudden change of events she becomes an outcast.

The main character of the book is actually not Stargirl.  It is Leo, the boy who falls in love with her and the narrator of the story. He is a junior at Mica High who is well know for being part of the school show Hot Seat. At first, Leo refuses to admit that he is very much attracted to Stargirl.  When he finally does give in to his feelings, he tries to change her in an effort to make her fit into the same crowd that shuns her.  As he finds out, people are not as accepting as he would have liked.  In fact, sometimes they are just plain cruel.  Reflecting on how he cowardly handles certain events, he experiences disappointment and regret. The story ends by fast forwarding 15 years after the encounter with Stargirl.
Believe Me You Will Want to Know MORE!!!!

Why read it?Many times people shun what they find different or what they don't understand.  Stargirl is the sweetest, most compassionate person in Mica High and yet she is despised for her kindness. This made me reflect on how I at times have labeled great people as "weirdos" and decide to stay a "safe" distance from them thinking that if I get to close I may be treated differently by others.  After getting to know Stargirl, I will try my best to refrain from taking that negative attitude ever again.  I am determined to appreciate people's differences. 

NOTE: If you like first love stories, this is the book for you as well.