Mica Area High School has never seen anything like Stargirl Caraway, nor will it ever again. She came from home school and rocked the boat, going against the grain in every conceivable way. Her name was originally Susan, but she changes it every couple of years. She brings her ukelele to school so that she can sing “Happy Birthday” to someone in the lunchroom, she decorates her desk with a tablecloth and a flower, and she leaves cards at the houses of those people in town who are sick. At first, she’s a full-blown oddity, a spectacle that lands her in the center of the lunchroom crowd and the gossip, then she starts doing something normal–she joins the cheer squad. However, she doesn’t want to make other people feel bad, so she cheers for both teams.
Leo, the narrator, falls for Stargirl eventually, just as the rest of the school turns on her. She teaches him to live as she does, and they are ostracized as one. He urges her to then conform to the norms of the school, and their world spirals into darkness.
This is an allegory for the perils of following the crowd. Stargirl is the embodiment of individualism and going against the grain; she must be herself, and when she tries to stop, she deteriorates significantly.
I really loved this book. It is timeless, not overly complex, and I would recommend it to all teens.