Sorta Like A Rock Star

Sorta Like A Rock Star by Matthew QuickSorta Like A Rock Star by Matthew Quick
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Number of pages: 355 pages
My copy: paperback, bought from Fully Booked

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. The world is Amber’s stage, and Amber is, well…she’s sorta like a rock star. True? True.

* * *

I’ve been wanting to get a copy of Matthew Quick’s Sorta Like A Rock Star for the longest time, because I thought it was one of those band books — sorta kinda like Antony John’s Five Flavors of Dumb — and I enjoy those books a lot. But no one ever gave it to me for Christmas or my birthday, so after two years of it being in my wish list, I decided to splurge on it shortly after Christmas.

As it turns out, though, Sorta Like A Rock Star is far from being a band book. We meet Amber Appleton, so-called “Princess of Hope”. Amber lives in a bus with her mom and her dog, Bobby Big Boy (aka 3B aka Thrice B aka BBB, who is Catholic too, btw) ever since her mom’s latest boyfriend kicked them out. Despite all this, Amber still has a positive outlook in life and she does her best to help other people who need her (going around in her trusty bike she parks on thule bike racks): her own group of outcasts in school, their adviser for the Marketing Club, some Korean women in a Catholic church where she serves and even a retired veteran who she befriends through a letter-writing exercise in class. She’s such a ray of light to other people that when something truly terrible happens to her, Amber teeters on the edge of darkness — and there doesn’t seem to be any answers to her questions in the face of this tragedy.

I didn’t really warm up to Sorta Like A Rock Star when I first read it, because I sort of couldn’t get into Amber’s way of speaking and her über-optimism. I’m a pretty positive person, but Amber just takes it waaaaay above what I normally know. But somehow, I started feeling for her, especially since I had a view of how much of a struggle it was for her at “home”.

And then that terrible thing happened. And my heart just went out for her. I found myself sniffling in the middle of the night, and I suddenly couldn’t put it down. My heart went out for Amber, and interestingly, to Father Chee, who sat with her through her ordeal. Her questions were painful, and it also hurts me every time her priest friend finally answers, “I don’t know.” Sigh.

Then…well, I won’t say what happens next because it’s better to be read and experienced first hand, but when I finished the book, I was filled with hope, too. Like Amber had reached out from the pages and touched my heart, telling me that things can never be too worse not to be hopeful. I can’t really remember what I was going through when I was reading this, but I remember my heart full of good vibes and warmth when I was done reading, and there were warm, happy tears streaming down my face. Especially when I read this particular haiku:

You may exist in
This world- but I exist too
And I will not yield…

Sorta Like A Rock Star is not your ordinary contemporary YA novel. If you read it and feel turned off at the start of the book, then I urge you to read on — the saccharine sweetness and positivity will bear fruit later, I promise. This is the kind of book that you’ll want to read if you’re feeling down and when you’re done, you’ll want to be what Amber was to everyone, too: a hope-spreader. :)

Rating: [rating=4]

Other reviews:
The Readventurer

All I Want for Christmas 2011 Is… (Book Edition)


November is halfway done, which means that December is just around the corner, which also means that Christmas is just around the corner! And in the spirit of gift-giving and all that (and to help my friends in picking out presents for me, y’know, in case they want to :P) here’s my wish list for 2011! :)

BOOK-RELATED STUFF (also known as possibly expensive book-related gifts):

  • Still waiting for that book seal. My brother was supposed to give me one, but I have to confirm. :P
  • Kindle Touch. I mean, come on, you know you want one too (also, I can dream. haha).


  1. Pysch Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson
  2. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
  3. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen  Thanks, Monique!
  4. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen Thanks Angus!
  5. Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
  6. Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers
  7. What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
  8. Heist Society by Ally Carter
  9. Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park (I don’t mind the ebook version!)
  10. Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver (UK edition, please?)
  11. Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
  12. The Boy Book (Ruby Oliver # 2) by E. Lockhart (and the rest of the Ruby Oliver books) Thanks, Tricia! :)
  13. Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick
  14. The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway
  15. Nightspell by Leah Cypess
  16. Amplified by Tara Kelly
  17. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  18. Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

I don’t really have much of a preference between books and ebooks but for books with illustrations (particularly #2, 9 and 10), I would want them in print. Because that’s really one of the things you’d pay for in print. :)

I’m also all for recommendations — if you think I’ll like the book, then I would gladly accept. it. :D

But if you’d rather be different, and decide to give me something non-book related…well:

  • Anything with sunflowers and/or stars
  • Gift certificates — not just bookstores, but other places too: Starbucks, Dashing Diva, CBTL, etc.
  • Pretty pens and notebooks :)

I’m pretty easy to please, so even a Christmas card would do, actually. Snail mail makes me happy too. :D

I’m also posting this because I joined this year’s Book Blogger Holiday Swap again. :) It’s so fun sending and receiving packages during the holiday season that even if I am a little tight on the budget this year, I didn’t mind signing up. Unfortunately, sign ups for this swap is already closed, but there are other book swaps, too, like the Book Geeks Book Exchange. :) Come join the book exchanging holiday fun!