In Stargirl, how does Leo become aware of the title character?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Jerry Spinelli wrote Stargirl in 2000 about a home-schooled girl who attends public school for the first time, and how she adapts to this new life.

Leo, the narrator, is a popular boy in the high school who produces a school television show with his best friend. When the story starts, Leo is aware of the conformist nature of high school, but is comfortable to remain popular and "normal." One day, he hears rumors of a new student:

I turned to the senior slouching behind me. "Stargirl?" I said. "What kind of a name is that?"
And then I saw her. At lunch. She wore an off-white dress so long it covered her shoes. It had ruffles around the neck... something was strapped across her back, but it wasn't a book bag. At first I thought it was a miniature guitar. I found out later it was a ukulele.
And now the girl was standing, slinging her bag over one shoulder and marching among the tables, strumming and singing and strutting and twirling.
(Spinelli, Stargirl, Google Books)

Leo's first contact with her is as a curiosity, a potential interview for his show, and a glimpse into the manic behavior of Stargirl. She has little understanding of social norms and so acts as she did at home, free without shame. Leo has the same reaction that most of the school does, confusion and amusement, and only after getting to know her does he see past her eccentric exterior.


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