Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Loser by Jerry Spinelli

Prior to beginning to read Loser by Jerry Spinelli, my little brother tried to stray me away from it. Apparently he read this book last year and in his words, Loser is "boring and made me fall asleep". I was rather surprised by his reaction to it, considering I loved reading Stargirl in the beginning of the semester. Spinelli is a wonderful author and incorporates elements that are relatable to children and teens. Obviously I didn't let my little brother's opinion cloud my judgment! 
Unlike him, I enjoyed reading this book. Like Stargirl, Zinkoff is a bit of an outsider, constantly being ridiculed and judged by his classmates. I like the fact that Spinelli includes characters that are not deemed popular, because after all, how many of us would have considered ourselves part of the popular crowd in school? While reading Loser, I found myself constantly making connections to Stargirl. Ultimately both of these stories focus on not only the main character accepting who they are, but having their classmates realize that "different" does not necessarily mean a bad thing. I think this is something that all kids can relate to. There are many kids who are shy, quirky or seem not to fit in for other reasons. It is because there is something wrong with them, but rather because their peers cannot accept someone who is unlike them. This is something that both Stargirl and Zinkoff struggled with. Obviously they are two wonderful kids who shouldn't have to change in order to please anyone (although Stargirl did change for a while, but that's beside the point). 
I am interested in reading more of Spinelli's books and seeing whether or not the main characters show similar qualities to both Stargirl and Zinkoff. Can you believe that prior to this course I've never read a book by Spinelli? I'm glad that has changed. 


  1. Keara,

    That is so interesting that your brother did not enjoy Loser! My brother is the complete opposite as it is Mikey's all time favorite book.

    I am glad that you enjoyed the story and that you made so many connections between Loser and Stargirl. I ultimately chose Loser because of Zinkoff's similarities with Stargirl in hopes that you, Libby, and Dr. J would enjoy this read as much as you had enjoyed Stargirl! I agree that it is great how Spinelli always has unique and quirky characters who face many challenges personally and socially. I think that it is something that many kids can relate to and the books then lend themselves to powerful connections and conversations that lead to both academic and personal growth!

  2. Keara,
    Given what I have learned about you as a reader this semester, I supposed I am not as surprised that you hadn't picked up a Spinelli book before. I sometimes think his one-word titles and somewhat cryptic book jacket summaries do his "potential readers" an injustice because they don't hook new readers easily.

    I wonder if there were specific scenes you had in mind that you recalled from Stargirl as you read Loser?