Chapter 18 and Chapter 19 Summary
In the days that follow, Leo feels as if he is alone in the universe—alone except for Stargirl. He senses her presence everywhere. One day, though, he discovers they are literally alone. As they walk side by side through the halls at school, no one speaks to them, looks at them, nods at them, smiles at them, or notices them in any way. Amid the crowd around them, they remain literally untouched.
At lunch, Leo mentions his observation to Kevin—who stares intently at his sandwich. He is only teasing, but Leo asks Kevin what is going on with everyone. Kevin regrets having to tell his friend that he is not the one being shunned. As Leo looks around, he realizes that only Dori Dilson and another ninth grader are sitting at Stargirl’s once-full table. Kevin explains she is being given the silent treatment because of the “basketball stuff.”
Leo protests that only a few short weeks ago everyone was cheering for Stargirl at the oratorical contest, and only one person threw a tomato. But, says Kevin, “a thousand wanted to.” They all blame her for the ruin of their undefeated season. Leo protests that she is simply a cheerleader, and all the nice things she does for people should count for something—though obviously they do not. In the following days, Leo is intensely aware of their aloneness in a crowd and the smirks of Hillari Kimble, but Stargirl does not seem to notice.
Archie explains the Amish concept of shunning to Leo, who feels as if he does not exist within the walls of MAHS—at least not when he is with Stargirl. “Poor dolphin. Caught in a tuna net,” says Archie. While he ponders Barney’s Paleocene skull, Leo asks Archie what he should do.
Archie’s suggestion to stay away from her is not particularly helpful, and Leo asks him if he believes in enchanted places; the scientist says indeed he does. The real question Leo wants to ask finally comes out: “Why can’t she be...like everybody else?” Leo knows this is not really what he wants, and Archie knows it, too. Archie tries to explain that Stargirl is more in touch with herself and the world around her than the rest of us are, and his words
seemed not to enter through my ears but to settle on my skin, there to burrow like tiny eggs awaiting the rain of my maturity, when they would hatch and I at last would understand.
As they stand in front of Mr. Saguaro, Leo whispers that they all hate her. Archie speaks to the crazy, oversized, ancient cactus and tells Leo he has asked Mr. Saguaro for questions. A confused Leo wonders what that means. Archie then asks Leo whose affection is more valuable to him—Stargirl’s or the others’? Leo leaves pondering the question but then decides he simply does not want to answer it.