Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Review: Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick

Title: Sorta Like a Rock Star
Author: Matthew Quick
Publication: May 1, 2010 by Little, Brown and Company
Source: Library Book

Goodreads Summary: 

Amber Appleton lives in a bus. Ever since her mom's boyfriend kicked them out, Amber, her mom, and her totally loyal dog, Bobby Big Boy (aka Thrice B) have been camped out in the back of Hello Yellow (the school bus her mom drives). Still, Amber, the self-proclaimed princess of hope and girl of unyielding optimism, refuses to sweat the bad stuff. But when a fatal tragedy threatens Amber's optimism—and her way of life, can Amber continue to be the rock star of hope? With an oddball cast of characters, and a heartwarming, inspiring story, this novel unveils a beautifully beaten-up world of laughs, loyalty, and hard-earned hope.

My Thoughts:

Amber is full of spirit and she works so hard to boost the spirits of everyone around her.  I loved this character and she reminded me a lot of the protagonist in Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.  I was impressed with the strength in this female character and also with the vulnerability she displays later in the story.  This is a story about a teenager who is dealing with more than she should have to deal with and the people in her life who support her.  I loved Amber's voice throughout the story.  She is witty and funny and optimistic.  This book surprised me at every twist and turn.  I was touched in a deep way and tears were streaming down my face throughout the entire second half of the book.  Quick did an amazing job of bringing an eclectic mix of characters to life in this great story.

Here's a highlight from the book.  In this scene Amber is riding a bike to the church where she volunteers, with her little dog in the basket of the bicycle:

     We are flying through the cold January air, out of town, across the tracks, and into the ghetto.  There are a lot of down-and-out people in this town, and they usually stare at me when I ride my bike through.
      The first time this happened, it scared me a lot, because it sorta looked like these people wanted to kill me, but I have since learned a trick.
      Whenever someone looks at me like they want to stomp my face in, I now look the person in the eyes, smile really huge, wave, and say, "Hope you're havin' a great day!" It's pretty wild because doing this really works.  If you don't believe me, try it yourself.  Even the meanest-looking people will get this really stunned look on their faces, but then the smile blooms, and they usually wave back and say something nice like "God bless you!" or "Same to you!" It's a pretty cool trick, and maybe even a pretty killer way of life, if you are a crazy spiritual ho like me. True? True. 

Don't you just love her voice? I would highly recommend this one to teens and adults, grade 8 and up.  I enjoyed Boy21 as well and will certainly be watching for more from Matthew Quick.

5 out of 5 stars

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