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Charl L (UK)

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Stargirl (Black Apple)
Stargirl (Black Apple)
by Jerry Spinelli
Edition: Paperback

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful story, 15 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Stargirl (Black Apple) (Paperback)
The first thing about this book that caught my eye was the name. 'Stargirl' certainly isn't an everyday title, and this isn't an everyday book. That, coupled with the glaringly pink cover, made me wonder what it might be about.
'Stargirl' is a beautifully written story about nonconformity, and what happens when someone dares to be different. The mysterious Stargirl swings between popularity and widespread dislike, but she remains true to herself throughout. The story champions individuality and kindness, while showing the price it can often have.
Everyone knows that they conform, more or less, especially teenagers, but Stargirl just doesn't understand the idea of wanting to be like everyone else. The unique heroine is always optimistic and more than a little strange, but lovely. I loved her 'happy wagon' - a small wagon to which she adds an extra stone when she gets happier, or takes one out when she is upset.
Stargirl's small kindnesses help to make the world a tiny bit nicer, and you know that you have to love someone who drops change so that people will smile when they pick it up, or sings 'Happy Birthday' (accompanied by a ukelele!) to people she doesn't know.
An magical story that you won't easily forget - read it and you won't regret it!

Waterbound (Signature)
Waterbound (Signature)
by Jane Stemp
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 22 Dec. 2003
This review is from: Waterbound (Signature) (Paperback)
This is definitely one of my favourite books. I first read it about four years ago, after borrowing it from a library - I borrowed it again several times in the next couple of years!
I enjoy this book a lot and continue to every time I read it again. The author, Jane Stemp, has mild cerebral palsy herself, hence the interest in disability issues. The characters - Gem, Jay et al - are easy to empathise with and their story provides an insight into a possible future. The two separate worlds of Upstream and Downstream provide the basis for an interesting story that raises some relevant issues.
Having said that, don't be put off. This isn't a moralising tale that will bore you to death. Waterbound is the story of a girl who stumbles upon a world very different from her own, and her subsequent tentative contact, then friendship, with the people who live there. The point is that everyone is human, and should be treated as such.
I'd certainly advise everyone to read this book. It's a shame that both this and the author's other published book, Secret Songs, are so unknown and hard-to-find.

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