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Sorta Like a Rock Star

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  6,417 ratings  ·  1,103 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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Jennifer I would say no. Amber has a guy friend who is really supportive of her when she needs it and she knows that he cares for her. Who knows where that mig…moreI would say no. Amber has a guy friend who is really supportive of her when she needs it and she knows that he cares for her. Who knows where that might lead to down the road, but there is no mention of anything in the book. The book really is about supportive friends and making your own family.(less)
Shaily It is set in a Philadelphia suburb, most likely South Jersey

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,417 ratings  ·  1,103 reviews

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Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
I’m almost ashamed how much I loved it because I GET life’s not like this. True? True. Good things don’t always come to good people, I (sorta) outgrew believing in all that karma crap years ago. Whatever, I finished this with a big smile on my face and a tingly feeling of hopefulness. Beating that pessimist back was hard work.
It’s quintessential Quick, trying to think of another author who can pull off a story about poverty “I sleep on a school bus. I’m a freak” , addiction (raging alcoholic for
Emily May
Oct 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing

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
Dec 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, 2010
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
Neil (or bleed)
“You may exist in This world—but I exist too. And I will not yield”

Sorta Like A Rockstar is on my mind for months since I discovered it, until I decided to end my misery of repeating the title over and over again in my brain (because the title was really catchy imo) and read this book. And boy, WOW! this book rocked me totally.

The first part kept me smiling and even laughing on how this book is filled of hope, joy, faith and anything that describes a positive life. Amber Appleton is an ador
Sam Quixote
Jan 14, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Jonathan K (Plot & Characters Matter)
Another great story from Matthew (Silver Linings Playbook) who demonstrates that hope is what's possible and necessary in life. Amber Appleton is a teen who in spite of her mother's choices inspires everyone she interacts with regardless of age, sex or mindset. A member of a group of dysfunctional high school friends, her wit, passion and energy is contagious. Of the five members, Ricky, an autistic math wiz is her sidekick, his mother Donna, an attorney who supports Amber in ways unimaginable. ...more
Apr 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ugly-cried
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
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
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
2.5ish stars.

I have extremely mixed feelings about this book...

On the one hand, it is somehow simultaneously extremely emotional and yet feel-good; it is well plotted; it made me both think and feel; it has a good message; and once I got to about half way through, I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened.

On the other hand, it wasn’t until halfway through that I felt any desire to keep reading, as almost nothing happens in the first half. I didn’t find any of the characters particular
Giveaway Win!
May 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Mar 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
3.7 Out Of 5 "tragically hip" Stars

At first, Amber Appleton annoyed me quite a bit. She is tragically hip, saying words like True and Word constantly. Maybe, in 2015 when this was published, she might come off as less annoying, but somehow I doubt it. I was poised to give this something like a 2-2 and 12 Stars, and then somewhere along the way, she started to get to me. Somehow, she burrowed her way under my skin. I even shed a tear or two. Seriously. Of course, I could just be feeling sorry for
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
Mar 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, contemporary, 2013
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
Nov 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
All the stars!

I love Matthew Quick's writing. His characters are not exactly realistic, but they are genuine, and make me feel. His characters are like a mish mash of seven real people with quirks, using mostly the odd parts, and then Quick adds these fascinating ways they speak. Inner dialogue, secret slang, old slang, made up phrases that just make sense, you name it. I LOVE the people he makes.

This is technically one of his YA books, but it doesn't matter. This book is about people. And despa
Jan 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
*The Angry Reader*
Jun 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-na, 2016, best-of-2016
One of the oddest books I've ever read. True? True.

I cannot believe - blows my mind - that I just read that book.

Amber Appleton is the most cheerful, chipper, perkiest human being on the face of this earth. The first few chapters were unbearable. I thought I'd been tricked into reading PollyAnna - The Modern Years. But then it all made sense. And I cried and cried and cried and cried. For at least the last 30% of the book I sobbed and loved it.

I don't want to tell you anything. Bc the less yo
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 27, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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
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
Apr 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Main character is so unique and awesome. The cynic in me says people like her do not exist, but I really hope they do.
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
♥ Thank you so much Light Pup (Chelsea) for the birthday gift ♥

(or is it me? I never know. Let's say both)
Amanda Stephany (mandsandherbooks)
3.0/5 stars

Spoiler free review

I started this book knowing virtually nothing about it. I knew the main character was this seventeen year-old girl, Amber Appleton, who was very hopeful and optimistic but would eventually suffer through a tragedy that would change her as a person. Now that I have finished it, I know there isn't much more than that to the plot. The book's summary kind of gives away the most important plot element. However, the interesting part for me was seeing Amber and those ar

  "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
Jan 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Matthew Quick is the New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook—which was made into an Oscar-winning film—and eight other novels, including We Are the Light, a #1 Indie Next Pick and a Book of the Month selection. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages, received a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention, was an LA Times Book Prize finalist, a New York Time ...more

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104 likes · 51 comments
“You may exist in
this world--but I exist too
and I will not yield”
“For some things there are no explanations - no reasons, and so, when these things happen, there is nothing to talk about really. And it is best not to dwell on said things for too long, because you will find that life has no real meaning if you do.” 13 likes
More quotes…