As most of you know, I’ve been Jerry Spinelli’s webmaster for the last 12 years. It’s been a fun journey with Jerry and Eileen (her webmaster, too). I’ve read and enjoyed all their award winning books (which is all of them).
I have always been amazed at the love readers have for Stargirl. Everyone sees a little bit of Stargirl in themelves. Even 55 year old women have written Jerry telling him how much they appreciated the book and how it helped validate their time in high school.
But now, we have gone to the next level. The movie rights were sold years ago, but last week Variety announced that ‘Twilight’s’ Catherine Hardwicke is on board to direct an adaptation of the bestselling YA novel “Stargirl.”
When Jerry told me about how Eileen and him drove up New York City to convene “Team Stargirl” with producers and publishers around a big table at Random House. The first thing I thought of was Jerry’s story about how he got his first book contract.
He had won a night with George Plimpton from a PBS auction, so Jerry made sure he took his manuscript and Eileen and him drove up to NYC to meet at George and his wife at his Manhatton Apartment. The first thing George said to Jerry was, “Okay, where’s the manuscript.” I guess he was used to people wanting him to look at their work. George took Jerry and Eileen to Sardi’s for dinner, which was a favorite spot for publishers and editors at the time and introduced him around. He even met Woody Allen, but most importantly he met the future editor of his first book, Space Station Seventh Grade published by Little, Brown BFYR in 1982. The rest is history. I thought of that story when I heard from Jerry and Eileen about the movie. I felt that Jerry had now come full circle, but actually it’s more like a spiral, an upward spiral.
Kristin Hahn has adapted Jerry Spinelli’s Stargirl and will produce the film, along with Gotham Group and BCDF Pictures. BCDF is financing the movie with plans to start filming in New Mexico in October.
Sources tell Variety that Hardwicke was quick to sign on for the project after reading Hahn’s script.
First published in 2000 by Random House, the critically acclaimed Stargirl story follows a homeschooled teen who enrolls in an Arizona high school, altering the ecosystem of the student body with her nonconformity.
“This is one of those stories and characters that stir your imagination and steal your heart and just stick with you forever. I am thrilled to have the chance to adapt this beloved novel and I can’t imagine anyone more uniquely equipped to bring this story to life than Catherine Hardwicke, a Stargirl in her own right,” Hahn said.
The New York Times in a review said it was a simple but poignant and enduring story. “a poetic allegorical tale about the magnificence and rarity of true nonconformity.” And while I love the post-apocalyptic themes that ring through many young adult series that are adapted to screen — The Hunger Games, Divergent — it’s the ringing reality of Stargirl that makes it so brilliant. At times the book can be harsh, and I think that’s what makes it great; that Spinelli doesn’t try to romanticize the utter pain of being a teenager.
To celebrate this wonderful news, Jerry has agreed to provide an autographed book of Stargirl to winner of this Book Give-Away. Want to win? Leave a comment. Want to increase you chances? Then reblog, talk about and provide a link to this post on facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, but remember to let me know how many things you did so I put in the proper amount of tickets with your name on them in the basket.
You have until next Thursday to spread the word, before I put all the name in my basket and pull the winner.
If you haven’t read Stargirl, you should run out and get it. It was dominated by Entertainment Weekly as one of the best YA’s of all time, plus you will zip through the book.
PS: I have probably butchered Jerry’s story, which he has told the story at many conferences. Believe me, nothing is better than hearing it told by Jerry. I made editorial cuts.