Author: Matthew Quick
Published: May 1st, 2010 by Little Brown & Company
Number of Pages: 368
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Sorta Like a Rock Star is a book that will empower its readers with an incredible appreciation for life. With its remarkable Amber Appleton, a main character nearly unmatched by any in the ability to find hope in darkness and penetrate anybody’s cold heart with the warmth of her personality, it will give you the urge to dance the Spanish Flamenco. This book is full of enthused, insuperable optimism. Passing it by would mean missing the opportunity to have your socks knocked off by a book that is, among books, sorta like a rock star.
I loved this book.
It’s the type of book that makes you feel good. Whatever you might be dealing with the day you read Sorta Like a Rock Star, it will seem less generally unpleasant or even significantly more wonderful than it is. This book fills you with genuine hope, just like its fabulous main character, Amber Appleton.
Yeah, she’s sorta like a rock star to me.
You cannot help but admire characters that bring light and happiness to any situation, who find the power to make do with what they have but never lose sight of the future and what they can accomplish. They can be relatively content but not blinded to the point of not recognizing the fact that situations can always be improved and that they, through determination, integrity, etc. can improve them.
Most importantly, Amber strives to bring liveliness into people’s lives, to brighten at least one moment, if not a day. In the beginning, she’s (seemingly) irrevocably optimistic.
But even Amber Appleton can be shaken too severely.
Amber lives on the school bus her mom drives, nicknamed Hello Yellow, with her mother, her dog (BBB or Bobby Big Boy or Thrice B or B Thrice or Triple B – you get my drift), a comforter, and their six garbage bags of belongings. Each morning, she dresses and heads to Ricky, her autistic (and adorable) friend, and his mother Donna’s house. There, she, occasionally, makes breakfast and then prepares for school by taking a lightning-quick shower and applying makeup. She feeds B Thrice his canned dog food.
She continues her day by going to school, hanging with Franks Freak Force Federation (a.k.a. The Five), and then later heading to somewhere to make someone’s life a little bit brighter.
And in the darkness of the night, she eats hardly anything, does her homework, and goes to bed, whether her mom is home from the bar or not.
Despite the evident sub-par living situation, she is hopeful. She’s “a freak”, but she is hopeful.
Until her small family is torn apart and Amber is left alone. Life’s not so bright. She’s not so hopeful. She stops visiting the KDFC’s (the group of Korean women she teaches English to with Father Chee, otherwise known as The Korean Divas for Christ). She doesn’t visit with friends anymore. Period.
It seems as though Amber’s lost herself, and it takes awhile (and a doggy crisis) for her to find herself again.
But when she does, you cheer for her like mad. There is no doubt that Matthew Quick has created a character that speaks to people, whom people listen to, and whom people learn to love and yearn to follow. She’s a fantastic example of how wonderful human beings can be. And yes, she’s just that. She’s not incredible at everything. She isn’t perfection itself. She’s a seventeen-year-old girl with her own freakish problems, and she manages – while simultaneously aiding others to manage themselves.
I’d recommend this book to anyone, simply because everyone in the world needs something to cheer them up. It’s funny, it’s eccentric, and it’s just. Plain. Awesome. I realize I sound oddly adamant, but Sorta Like a Rock Star really is the type of book fit for any circumstance. Its general feel – aura, if you will – is one that speaks and is beloved to everyone. Why not give yourself the treat of a sporadic burst of enthusiasm and hope? The world is a nice one, that’s for sure. Even if you’re living on a school bus named Banana Slug.