Friday, July 30, 2010

Review by Alex- Sorta Like a Rock Star

Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick

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). But Amber, the self-proclaimed princess of hope and girl of unyielding optimism, refuses to sweat the bad stuff. Instead, she focuses on bettering the lives of her alcoholic mother and her quirky circle of friends: a glass-ceiling-breaking single mother raising a son diagnosed with autism; Father Chee and The Korean Divas for Christ (soul-singing ESL students); a nihilist octogenarian; a video-game-playing gang of outcasts; and a haiku-writing war vet. But then a fatal tragedy threatens Amber’s optimism—and her way of life. Can Amber continue to be the princess of hope?

With his zany cast of characters and a heartwarming, inspiring story, debut YA author Matthew Quick builds a beautifully beaten-up world of laughs, loyalty, and hard-earned hope. This world is Amber’s stage, and Amber is, well…she’s sorta like a rock star.

First Impressions: Bought on a whim when I went to Chapters one day. I went in not knowing anything about it besides the description and that there were blurbs by some great authors praising Sorta Like a Rock Star.

And I have to say, Sorta Like a Rock Star is such a hidden gem. True. As Amber would say. Amber,the narrator, has an honest and powerful voice. Though at first it's extremely annoying with the "trues" as I've showcased a few sentences back, after a while, you get used to it and the unique voice only adds to the novel.

Amber is one helluva heroine. She's got more problems than the average girl, but she's able to bear it well and still remain seemingly eternally optimistic. She goes through ups and downs and changes throughout the novel- but she still retains that beautiful Amber-ness. I'm not doing a very good job of describing Amber, because she's just one of those undescribably good characters.

Supporting Amber is a crazy and motley cast. Amber seems to be able to make friends with anyone and everyone if she wants to. She smiles and says hello to scary homeless people as she bikes by. She has four male best friends who all aren't, well, average. She's a befriender and an action-taker. This review focuses on Amber because the novel is about Amber. The rest of the characters are well-done and fun, but Amber is without a doubt the showstopper.

Final Impressions: This book made me laugh. It made me cry. End of story. So really, go pick up this book now. It's heartfelt and sweet, and almost perfect in a fragile sort of way.

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