What does Mica High School symbolize?

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The setting of young adult novelist Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl is the fictional Mica Area High School (MAHS). This high school is located in Arizona, where the protagonist, Leo, has been living since moving with his family from Pennsylvania. When the previously homeschooled Stargirl Caraway starts attending MAHS, she is ostracized by curious and suspicious classmates for her unusual outfits and behavior—until she becomes instantly popular for uninhibited and talented ability as a cheerleader at athletic events. Then, after she makes a focused effort to become popular, her peers regard her with suspicion. She is humiliated by Leo's student television show and further outcast when she consoles an injured player from the opposing basketball team.

One day, after a school dance, Stargirl disappears. The adult Leo continues to drive by her home occasionally, but he is never sure what became of her.

There are two important things about Mica Area High School. First, its fictional location in Arizona (a state whose urban centers are the epitome of upper-middle-class America), coupled with the high school age group to which it is home, makes it a hotbed for a reputation-conscious audience that demands conformity. Blending in to be socially acceptable is prized here.

Next, the name "Mica" is perhaps a pun on the title character and the book's title itself, as "mica" is also the name of a crystalline rock that shines like stars.

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