Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What should I read next? Wednesday #2: (after) Stargirl

Yeah, I realised after last week my title was not clear, so now I've added even more words. Happy?

Blargh. It's early on Wednesday morning and I'm feeling a mid-week slump. This aft, I'm off to a local French school to do Summer reading club promotion, which means I have to wake up before then.

Oh yeah, right. Books.

So, you loved Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. You loved Stargirl's carefree nature, her (sometimes unbelievable?) oblivion to being shunned in school, her hippie dresses, her pet rat, her ukelele. You enjoyed the enigma of Stargirl, and the down-to-earthness of Leo, the tension between first love and group conformity.

In that case, you might try Schooled by Canada's own boy wonder, Gordon Korman (can I still say that if he's 46?). While much funnier (and therefore somewhat less exhaustingly "earnest") than Stargirl, Schooled is a great read-alike. Main character Cap (that would be Capricorn) is sent to school for the first time after his grandmother, who homeschools him, falls out of a tree and is sent off to physio rehab. Cap soon finds out that there is life beyond the Garland Farm Commune (founded in 1967, and now reduced to just Cap and his grandmother), and it's full of TV, high school pranks, and, um, girls. He lands at Claverage Middle School, where a long-standing tradition is to elect the dorkiest kid 8th grade class president (thereby maximising opportunities for mockery throughout the school year), and thus is Cap thrust into the spotlight. He soon learns a great deal, including why he and his grandmother are the only people remaining on the commune, a subplot which I found particularly affecting. The scene near the end when Cap greets every child in the school by name is as moving as Stargirl's ukelele serenades.

No comments:

Post a Comment