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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amber Appleton is REAL.
Part of you is hesitant. You're wondering if a YA book about a teenage girl who lives on a school bus with her mother is really the kind of book for you. You're wondering if Amber Appleton -- who teaches English to Korean women, who visits old people in a nursing home when she's not related to any of them, who makes omelets for her autistic friend, who believes in god but...
Published on April 12, 2010 by evanjamesroskos

versus
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Review from So Many Books, So Little Time
So, I was struggling with my feelings of this book and the rating for this book. It was between what I felt like is SHOULD be versus how I REALLY felt about the book. I finally went with my real feelings. It's not going to be popular, but so be it.

Yes, this book has so many important themes: homelessness, death, alcoholism, autism, diseases, poverty,...
Published on December 26, 2011 by A. Howell


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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amber Appleton is REAL., April 12, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sorta Like a Rock Star (Hardcover)
Part of you is hesitant. You're wondering if a YA book about a teenage girl who lives on a school bus with her mother is really the kind of book for you. You're wondering if Amber Appleton -- who teaches English to Korean women, who visits old people in a nursing home when she's not related to any of them, who makes omelets for her autistic friend, who believes in god but is also cool with athiests -- is "believable." You're not sure if you're ready for a book about surviving the great and small challenges that befall a girl in today's world. You're afraid that it will not meet your high expectations or that it will meet your low expectations.

Don't be foolish.

In the hands of author Matthew Quick, you are well cared for. Amber Appleton is real -- as real as any of the great teenage voices that have come before. I can name them, but why clutter your mind with comparisons? Amber is new and yet familiar. She is a girl with a troubled mother. She is a girl that has a list of her favorite mother-daughter moments. She is a girl who thinks about fathers, who tries to help everyone else in order to help get through her own day.

Her world is real -- both joyous and grim. Her problems are real. She sleeps on a bus, for starters. Her favorite teacher is under siege. Her mother is depressed. And yet, there's something magic going on here that I can't describe without giving too much away. It has to do with haiku and video games and people coming together when everything is coming apart.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A young adult book for readers of all ages, June 22, 2010
This review is from: Sorta Like a Rock Star (Hardcover)
You don't have to be a teenager to read this novel. The only thing that is required of you is that you are ready to connect and feel a kinship with an offbeat teenage girl who spends her time caring for others, not expecting anything from anyone but in turn gets more than she could ever have hoped for. You'd have to have a pretty black heart to come away from reading this book without feeling uplifted (and highly entertained). If anyone might be hesitant to read a young adult book---perhaps it might be somewhat warranted to worry about reading Twilight or other such books, but this book should be required reading for the human race.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Review from So Many Books, So Little Time, December 26, 2011
By 
A. Howell (Windermere, FL) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sorta Like a Rock Star (Hardcover)
So, I was struggling with my feelings of this book and the rating for this book. It was between what I felt like is SHOULD be versus how I REALLY felt about the book. I finally went with my real feelings. It's not going to be popular, but so be it.

Yes, this book has so many important themes: homelessness, death, alcoholism, autism, diseases, poverty, bullying, outcasts, veterans, senior citizen, religion... So I felt like I should have liked it. But I just couldn't get over the writing. Every other line had "word" after it or "sucka" or "true? true." Kinda gangster-like. Which the character wasn't at all. And it just bugged me so much.

Yes, the book was about hope. And parts of it were heartbreaking towards the end. But it was all just too much, too over the top.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars word., March 17, 2014
This review is from: Sorta Like a Rock Star (Kindle Edition)
One of the most human books I have read in a long time. I cried through basically the final third. If that makes me sappy, so be it. True? True.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club. com, October 4, 2011
By 
This review is from: Sorta Like a Rock Star (Paperback)
Despite the fact that she is homeless and her mother seems to be shrinking into herself daily, Amber Appleton is an eternal optimist. She loves her dog, Bobby Big Boy, and the group of misfits she leads at school, dubbed Franks Freak Force Federation. Other than the four other members of the group, she has a wide social circle. She teaches English to a group of Korean women at a local church, visits the local nursing home weekly to cheer up the residents, and spends time writing haiku for a local veteran of the Vietnam war.

There is bleakness and inhumanity all around her, but Amber sees it all with a tint of rosiness, sure that she can rise above her situation to be like her role model, Donna, who is a lawyer. But when tragedy strikes, Amber finds herself questioning everything she believes and wondering if her view on life is all wrong. When disaster threatens again, she has to decide what's really important to her.

Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick is funny and sad and hopeful and uplifting and so much more. Amber shows that you don't necessarily have to be defined by your circumstances, and that individuals can make a difference--for good or bad--in others' lives. Mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 15 and up will be able to talk about several important issues, such as homelessness, alcohol addiction, the effects of autism, building community, and more. And Amber may just inspire you along the way to put your own efforts behind a cause or person who needs it. I highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long Live Amber Appleton, May 19, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sorta Like a Rock Star (Hardcover)
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 now and I expect a lot from his work. I expect honesty and humor and a wacky set of characters doing interesting things: and, boy, does this book deliver all of those things in spades. Most importantly, this book delivers a great big heart, all packaged within the body of Amber Appleton--who is one part Dorothy in Oz, one part Alice in Wonderland, and one part all her own. She's a girl who has been pushed down into a dark place due to circumstances beyond her control and when life deals her an unfair and devastating hand, even though she wants to give up, she refuses to.

Partly she keeps going because Amber is not alone in her hardships; through her dark times she has her friends (a group of misfit kids, a haiku writing war vet, a Nietzsche quoting nursing home villain, and a Catholic priest among others). In her darkest hour when all she wants to do is be alone, they will not give up on her. They fight for her in the way no one else ever has--not even her parents.

Amber teaches us to never give up yearning for a better future. She teaches us what it means to survive. Most importantly, she gives us hope.

Buy this book for your favorite high school kid. Buy this book for your mother and father. Buy this book for a complete stranger who looks like he is having a crappy day and needs a reason to believe. Buy this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too, April 14, 2010
This review is from: Sorta Like a Rock Star (Hardcover)
Gold Star Award Winner!

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 soon figured out that they were living on a school bus. It's the bus her mother drives every day.

Seventeen, homeless, and living on a bus with her alcoholic mother seems like it would be the worst thing ever, but Amber doesn't see it that way. She is doing well in school and hoping to attend college. She has a support system that includes her four video game-playing friends, an attorney who keeps her clean and fed, and a Korean Catholic priest who helps her keep the faith. There is also Bobby Big Boy, a tiny dog Amber rescued from certain death in a shoebox she found on the street.

Amber prides herself on giving people hope. She does everything from volunteer at a nursing home to simply wishing everyone she passes a good day. That is until she experiences a tragedy that threatens to ruin it all. How can she carry on with a positive outlook and hopeful spirit when the worst thing possible has happened?

Author Matthew Quick uses a combination of humor, quirky characters, and inspiring events that will touch every reader's emotions. I challenge anyone to read SORTA LIKE A ROCK STAR and not come away with a smile and a decision to make the best of what they have - just like Amber Appleton.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read, Hope, Hug, Love, April 15, 2010
By 
Mark F. Wiltsey (Collingswood, New Jersey United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sorta Like a Rock Star (Hardcover)
Read

Simply put - this is a must read. The characters jump into your heart and make you fell hope again. The book just flows page by page until you reach the perfect ending. You will not be disappointed.

Hope

With the economy being what it is and people lost in their careers (or losing their jobs), hope is at an all-time low. This book cannot solve the world's problems, but it can lift spirits. If Amber, being dealt such a terrible sequence of events and a challenging lifestyle, can find hope then we all can. She is to be revered.

Hug

This book makes you want to get out in your community and get involved. It makes you want to hug your neighbor, spouse, friend, etc. We should be thankful for what we have and appreciate the beautiful people in our lives and hearts.

Love

Once again, this book takes love to a new level. These quirky, zany characters that could not be any more different, come together as one in an outpouring of love. It is shows what children are capable of.

Please allow this book into your life. It will refocus your commitment to your community and help reinstate hope and love in a world that so desperately needs it. Thank you Matthew Quick for being one of the good guys!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I laughed, I cried, I loved?, June 21, 2010
This review is from: Sorta Like a Rock Star (Hardcover)
This is the kind of book that I would never have picked up if I hadn't been forced to read it for school, but I am so very glad that I did. It starts off a little slow, and the reader may find themselves feeling "This is all fine and good, but where is it GOING?" But then the big turn comes and suddenly you cannot put the book down. Some things that turned off my classmates was the main character's manner of speaking, because she has a language all her own and a bunch of rather odd catch phrases. Don't let her language deter you, though, because it really is something that makes this book special.
I had the honor of meeting Mr. Quick through the class I had to read this book for, and he is a wonderful person who really knows how to get under your skin. Whether it is through the main character, Amber, or one of her many compatriots who help her along the way, you will relate to somebody in this book and love it to tears. Some of my classmates said that they felt it was a modern day Catcher in the Rye, but I'm not sure I would go that far.
Read it, you won't regret it. True? True.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-warming but tough, April 20, 2010
This review is from: Sorta Like a Rock Star (Hardcover)
Even though it's a book for teens and I'm far from being a teen, I am a Quick fan (I loved The Silver Linings Playbook) so I ordered it - and I was glad I did. Quick seems to specialise in characters who attract both your affection and your admiration, without ever being creepy or mawkish. Like Pat Peoples in TSLP, Amber Appleton is an offbeat, heart-warming character: she has a broken, hopeless mother whom she both loves and pities, and a slobbering mutt of a dog, and a church choir of Korean women to enthuse, and a grown-up friend with the kind of career that Amber longs for but doesn't really believe she can have, because she's clear-eyed about the odds that are stacked against her. She is a go-getter, and she goes and gets - until the day something terrible happens. This is where the book really came into its own, and rose to a whole new level. I won't give away what happens, but it's all beautifully-judged and extremely moving. You are forcibly engaged. And the ending will move you to tears. I'd recommend this novel to any teen - but also to all adults, too.
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Sorta Like a Rock Star
Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick
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