Sorta Like a Rock Star
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Sorta Like a Rock Star

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  2,516 ratings  ·  588 reviews
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 t...more
Hardcover, 355 pages
Published May 1st 2010 by Little, Brown and Company
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Dec 27, 2010 Tatiana rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: readers who are looking for something good and different
Shelves: ya, 2010, ala-ya-2011
As seen on The Readventurer

Why isn't this book more popular? The only reason I know about it is because one day I was browsing my GR friends' shelves looking for a book written by an author whose name starts with "Q" for a reading challenge. How sad is that? Sorta Like a Rock Star deserves better.

Amber Appleton is a peculiar sort of girl. If you have seen Happy-Go-Lucky, Amber is pretty much a younger version of Poppy, an incorrigible optimist. She is the life of the party, she stands up for the...more
Emily May

I'm sorry if this review is on the sucky side, I really want it to be good but I'm writing it at the same time as writing a 2000-word research report on quantitative data analysis (kill me, just kill me now) so I can't make any promises. Plus, it's one of those really good books that I tend to waffle about and write things that don't actually mean anything... perhaps it's destined to fail.

Anyway! Let me just say that this book needs readers. About five hundred people have listed this book as "r...more
Irrepressible hope and relentless optimism are amazing and impressive...and you know what else? Extremely annoying. Yes, dear readers, I was one of those people giving Amber Appleton the side-eye for the entire first half of the book.

Sure, I empathized with her horrible situation and admired the spunk in her survival skills but I still resisted the crap out of her charm. I found her hugging obsession creepy. Her “JC” name dropping made me itch. Her slang felt unnaturally shoehorned into her oth...more
Sam Quixote
Hot on the heels of the excellent “Silver Linings Playbook” I jumped straight into Matthew Quick's next book, “Sorta Like a Rock Star” which is a Young Adult novel aimed at teens and is narrated in the first person by a teenage girl called Amber.

This is a review of the first 10 pages of this novel - is that unfair? Yup! Is that stopping me from writing this review? Nope!

Within the first few pages of this novel I regretted buying it. Matthew Quick is a 40 year-old man trying to mimic the voice o...more
Amber Appleton is currently homeless, sleeping on the school bus her mother drives part-time, and trying to keep her life and her self together. She does the best she can with what she's got and makes the best out of her situation. She volunteers at the old folks home, she teaches english to Korean ladies at her church and she takes care of an autistic classmate in return for meals and shower privileges at his house. But Amber is barely holding it together, keeping herself and her pup, Bobby Big...more
I love Amber Appleton, no sorta about it. True.

A book called Sorta Like a Rock Star and it’s about a girl living on a bus with her mother? Wasn’t exactly at the top of my TBR pile, but I’m easily swayed by consistently good reviews. So I got to meet Amber. She has a conversational relationship with God (no need to worry, it’s not religious) and digs lighting up people’s faces, but she’s not saccharine or superior. She’s not looking to collect karmic points or gain accolades. She’s okay manipulat...more
May 30, 2010 Arlene rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Arlene by: Goodreads Giveaway Winner!!
Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick is an awesome and inspiring read. I finished this book in a few short hours as Amber Appleton did such a great job captivating my attention with her unique and refreshing narrative. To be honest, I was a little skeptical of Quick’s ability to pull off penning a female character’s voice, but that just shows you what I know. The narrative and character development he achieved with this book was absolute perfection and had me applauding his efforts the whole...more
It begins with a young woman whose perpetually upbeat manner had me squinting, wondering at what her damage was. Proclaimed Princess of Hope, she’d surrounded herself with people to hold up. Yet it was these various people who had me pausing, they seemed almost too sweet. The five she hung out with were odd ball misfits with no place but with each other. The old folks home and her verbal wars with Joan of old as well as the Singing Korean Divas and a haiku writing war vet… all touched me, but ju...more
Am I truly the only one on goodreads who was completely put off by this saccharine emotionally manipulative Pollyanna story with a heroine so very desperate to be quirkily likeable?

Amber Appleton is supposed to be 17, but she reads like one of those 10-13-year-old heroines who (sniffle) have been through SO MUCH (sob) and yet somehow manage to maintain their relentless optimism despite all the failures of the adults in their lives to care for them. The kind of optimism that would certainly be na...more
Nov 13, 2012 Catie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Catie by: Noelle
Shelves: read-in-2012, ya
3 1/2 stars

Have you ever wondered what would happen if Pollyanna had a baby with Benji and that baby grew up to be a quirky urban YA novel with lots of weird slang? Well, wonder no more, for here lies your answer. Amber Appleton is an irrepressibly optimistic teenage girl who travels through her town spreading hope and cheer wherever she goes. Nothing can get her down for long – even the fact that she’s living in a school bus with her alcoholic mom and it’s the middle of winter. She seems to thr...more
Original post from One More Page

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...more
You know what? I'm giving this book 5 stars anyway. It's just that good.

Amber Appleton is one of the most peculiar YA narrators I've ever come across. She is an extreme optimist, no matter what direction life takes her. When the story opens, life has taken her mother and her to live on the school bus her mom drives after being kicked out of her mom's ex-boyfriend Oliver's apartment. However, Amber soon suffers a tragedy so great that now even she can't see a bright side.

I was afraid of giving...more
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
Amber Appleton is the Princess of Hope, despite being homeless, not having enough money for food, having no father and generally a sucky life. But she knows that J.C. (Jesus Christ) is watching out from her and the eternally upbeat girl knows that as long as she's gotta Buddy Big Boy (her dog), her friends and her mom, things are alright.

I can see readers struggling with Amber Appleton in Sorta Like A Rock Star. She seems simply too odd and too happy to be realistic. However, for me, she feels l...more
I read this one a few weeks ago but wasn't sure just how to explain the awesomeness it was.

There are so many reasons as to why I connected so much with this book and with its main character. Amber is awesome, unique and extremely admirable. She's just a good-hearted person, who always has a positive outlook on life even when life hasn't been all that easy for her. Her entire life has been just her and her mom, struggling to find a place to live, going from one mother boyfriend's house to another...more
Jul 29, 2010 Alexa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Alexa by: Goodreads First Reads winner
Being homeless and living on a school bus for months doesn't stop Amber Appleton from being optimistic about life. She has her mother, Bobby Big Boy (her dog), friends, and of course, Jesus Christ. But after experiencing a very personal tragedy, Amber's confidence and hope in life breaks. And she begins to suffer through a depression that no one can seem to bring her out of.

I really liked Amber. She was an extremely giving and caring person. She was always looking out for everyone. I couldn't he...more
Jun 19, 2010 Kimberleigh rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kimberleigh by: Goodreads First Reads Winner!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

  "Maybe I'm a freak - but i'm one hopeful misfit, 
and you could be worst things in this world. True? True."

It's books like this that had me realized how some of YA novels had seriously went downhill. Ever since I had the uber passion for reading, this kind of telling was what I grown fixated and what I have been looking forward to. Sorta Like A Rock Star was the fun and hyped up read that gnawed me to how much I really love young adult realistic fiction. It measures how much entertainment you've...more
The Sensei
As the supervisor of English in a school district, I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of this book. I can honestly say that it was the answer to my prayers. We have been searching for a great, young adult novel to help supplement our curriculum. Our ninth grade curriculum in centered on the theme of "Identity and Coming to Grips with Change" and this is exactly what happens to Amber Appleton. It felt as if this book was written for so many of our students. We will be ordering copies for...more
Jan 27, 2012 Fred rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Fred by: Amy
This is the story of Amber Appleton, a relentlessly upbeat 17 yo who daily engages in a strenuous and not always sucessful battle in the arena where "hope dukes it out with despair." Despite Amber's overwhelming and heartfelt optimism, despair has some pretty kick ass weapons in its arsenal - Amber and her alcoholic mom are homeless, living on the school bus mom drives. Mom is a pretty sucky mom, actually - she's anorexic, unreliable and Amber spends most evenings alone on the bus while mom's "g...more
2010 is over, or this would have made my list of 2010favorites. Stayed up way too late finishing this last night, as a new year's eve treat to myself, so I guess I read about 1/2 of it in 2011. Can't imagine a better book about Christianity for teens (without being much more obvious about it--this is not "Christian fiction", but it explores the fundamentals of the religion), and as an added bonus, there is also info about Zen Buddhism. Amber's voice felt over the top unbelievable to me at the be...more
This one is for all of the kids who live outside the edge of normal, all of the kids who have secrets behind what their faces show at school each day, all of the kids who have been picked on, and especially for all of the kids who when faced with the worst, offer up their best.

This one is for all of you who are rock stars of hope, just like Amber Appleton the winning heroine of Matthew Quick's charmingly heartbreaking YA novel Sorta Like a Rock Star.

I've been a fan of Quick's writing for a while...more
Main character is so unique and awesome. The cynic in me says people like her do not exist, but I really hope they do.
I finished Sorta Like A Rock Star on the subway back to my apartment. My friend (who sat next to me) is used to my being swept away emotionally by books, so my outbursts of giggling and eventual blubbering as I hit the last thirty-or-so pages weren’t anything strange or alarming for her. I was told that the ladies sitting on the seats across from us, however, spent a good while watching me make a spectacle of myself. They said to my friend, “Excuse me… could you ask her what she’s reading?” I ha...more
This is an important book that I think paints an amazing picture of how to live and go through life the best way possible. I really recommend this story to anyone trying to navigate through the difficulties of life (and there are many...), losing faith and hope. It is the right kind of book to pick up when lost in the mundanity of everyday things, in the stress of the routine and it really helps you to not lose sight of those things that matter in life.

Amber Appleton is the queen of hope, even...more
The writing for this book is abysmal, as though the writer tried to mesh together all the types of slang youth have used over the past 70 years (from cool cat to sucka to "True? True.") After the first 20 pages, I gave up and started skimming.

The main character is super religious and refers regularly to JC and even after tragedy strikes her life remains (to me) an unsymapathetic narrator. Why? Because she's unrealistic. She doesn't sound like a teenager. She's doesn't have much depth. She's a s...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

SORTA LIKE A ROCK STAR grabbed my attention right from the start. The main character, known for her upbeat, always optimistic view of life, jumped right off the page.

Her name is Amber Appleton, and though life is most definitely not giving her a fair shake at the moment, she is making the best of what she has. Since leaving her mother's boyfriend's apartment, she and her mom have been living on Hello Yellow. It took me a bit, but I...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Amber, her mother and her pup Bobby Big Boy have been living in Hello Yello (a school bus Amber’s mother drives part-time) for months after being kicked out of the latest in a series of her mom’s boyfriend’s apartments. Amber is an eternal optimist – splitting her time between her school friends (the Franks Freak Force Federation), teaching English to the Korean Divas for Christ at the local Korean Catholic Church and battling wits with Joan of Old at the Methodist Retirement Home. All that chan...more
Most of the books you read in life are variations on a theme, stories retold, or almost-copies of what's been done before.

Very - very rarely do you come across a book so original on so many levels that it defies description. We use words such as "like" to review books, but when a book is unlike everything else in the field, what does one say?

I'll say this. The cover is the worst thing about this book. I'm buying a copy to keep for myself. I went through almost every emotion while reading it. The...more
This book had the most annoying narrator I've read in a long time. Every few sentences, she stops to say "True? True." I mean, what? Kids use slang, but that doesn't even make sense. We're reading your story, we assume you are telling the truth or if not, you'll let us know. Also, she kept throwing out stuff like "word!" or "sucka!" which just sounds stupid. The rest of her narration seems like she is intelligent and reads a lot, so these interjections just undermine all that. The story has an i...more
This book was unrealistic, terribly written, and completely stereotypical. What kind of white girl with pitch-black hair goes around saying "Word" every five seconds? What girl is only friends with Special Ed boys? What kind of girl stalks her teacher, going to his house and verbally assaulting his wife? What kind of person basically lives at another person's house but Person B doesn't even notice that Person A is homeless??
This book sucked. Don't read it if you value your sanity.
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Matthew Quick (aka Q) is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, which was made into an Oscar-winning film. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has received a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention, among other accolades. Q lives with his wife, novelist/pianist Alicia Bessette.
More about Matthew Quick...
The Silver Linings Playbook Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock The Good Luck of Right Now Boy21

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“Air goes in and out
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brain - and so I am”
“I want to have an assistant someday who will make freaky teens cool T-shirts so that they can do good things in style. I want to be Donna. So frickin' much.” 4 likes
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