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

Books vs. Ebooks

Saw this image over at Because We’re Curious and thought this is pretty much accurate. :P I’m not sure who the source is, so if you know, please leave a comment so I can link it properly. :)

Books vs. Ebooks

Click to embiggen

Well, I’m definitely not one who will give up print books — I’ve just bought a couple earlier. But I do love my Kindle, and I think it’s a really nice gadget for bookworms.

What do you think? :)

Print vs. Electronic

Lately, I noticed that I haven’t been touching my to-be-read pile at home. Sure, most of them haven’t been covered with plastic yet, and I’m too lazy to do that, plus my room is a mess so it makes digging for other books kind of a hassle. I feel kind of guilty for buying all those books and not reading them, and yet, I still want to acquire more books. How crazy, right? I wish I could say that I could get around reading the other books that are there, too, but I’m not. Somehow, the longer they sit there, the more I don’t get to read them. I have books that I haven’t read that I bought way back 2006.


But I’m still reading, as you can see by my active Goodreads account. How? Ebooks.

I didn’t like ebooks the first time I heard of them, because I know that there’s nothing like the feel of a real book on my hands, and I know I can’t read on a computer all day. However, I found out that I can transfer ebooks to my iPod video a few years ago (long complicated process — if you want to know, email me so I can tell you how), and then I started sort of liking ebooks. When I finally got an iPod Touch, I downloaded the Stanza app and loaded even more ebooks.

And then I discovered Kindle for iPhone, and I got even more hooked. It’s good enough that Stanza can load my books, but Kindle for iPhone gives me a chance to sample books, and get the books I really, really want, without waiting for my dad to come home after I get my book orders shipped to him. It’s fast, convenient, and I find myself reading more and more books and wanting more and more books (what’s new), and sometimes I can window shop for books on Amazon all day.


I’ve been contemplating on actually getting a Kindle, because face it: I like books. I don’t have enough shelf space (yet). Most of the books I want to read won’t get here until how many months. And well…the Kindle looks pretty nifty. But am I really willing to stop having actual books and put them in a single ebook reader?

I’m not so sure.

But in the spirit of putting one against each other, let’s have a little pros-cons list, shall we?


  • Ebooks are easier to carry around. Well, at least if it’s in a single gadget, and it can fit in my bag. Plus I can carry a lot more books in one bag with an ebook reader. I mean, imagine having your library in the ebook reader, and it’s not even bigger than 6 inches. See?
  • Easier acquisition. From my experience with Amazon Kindle store, I get my books in a few seconds. No shipping fees. No long waits. I get to read what I want almost immediately. Shipping to the Philippines is always a huge expense, and don’t get me started about Customs.
  • Less paper. Not that print books are a waste, but sometimes I get guilty over getting books that I don’t really end up liking and just storing them there. Ever since we got flooded, I’ve been wary about having too many books at home because it eats up a lot of shelf space and I can’t save them all. Ebooks are sort of more environment friendly. I say sort of because ebook readers still need electricity, and that kind of still leaves a carbon footprint (did I use the term right?).
  • I can read in the dark. Well, at least for my iPod. I know the Kindle isn’t backlit, so I wouldn’t be able to do that if I get a Kindle, so it’s not a pro for that gadget. I’m pretty sure the iPad is backlit, too, but I don’t really want that. Anyway, ebooks in my iPod help me read wherever — before sleeping, in the car, even when it’s dark. Reading nonstop, yes? Of course that is bad for the eyes…and who wants to wear protective glasses just to reading anyway?


  • There’s nothing like the smell and feel of actual books. Do I have to explain this? Even old books have a distinct smell. Having an actual book on your hand to read is just priceless.
  • The anticipation of the book’s arrival when ordering or finding it in the bookstore is exciting. I’ve had those “OH MY GOSH THERE’S THE BOOK I HAVE TO GET IT!” moments a lot, and there’s nothing like finding the last copy of the book you want in a bookstore. Or waiting for the shipment of books to arrive and opening the box and flipping through the pages…and well, it’s just exciting.
  • Pretty covers, illustrations and colors. Ebook readers don’t have that. Sure there are PDFs, but it’s not the same thing sometimes.
  • Books can be borrowed. Actual books can be shared easily. Ebooks, not so much, unless you do it the bad way. Plus books can be swapped, sent somewhere and just spread around the world. Again ebooks, not so much.
  • It’s easier to commute carrying a book and not a gadget. I don’t like calling attention to myself when I’m commuting, especially in the streets of Manila. Whenever I try to read using my iPod, I hide it in my bag. I’m not afraid to pull out an actual book out in the open, even if I’m on a jeep.

From the looks of it, I seem to be leaning more on actual books. Which I probably am, but I can’t deny the convenience of ebooks, right?

So here’s a philosophy I came up with, but I’m not sure if I will be able to follow through (yet). I get ebooks if I want to read something but I’m not sure if I really, really like it. If I absolutely love it, or if it’s my absolute favorite author, I wouldn’t mind buying the book, even if I have the ebook version already. There’s nothing like too much support to authors we support, in my opinion.

Now let’s see if I actually really want a Kindle. But that’s for another post. :)

So what about you — print or electronic?