Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick

Amber Appleton is a lot of things, to a lot of people. At school, she is the leader of the Franks Freak Force Five: a group of misfits thrown together who became fast friends, and manage to survive high school by hiding out in Mr. Franks Marketing Class. She is the staunch defender of the weak, and proud of her friends.

After school, she becomes an honorary KDFC (Korean Diva for Christ) at St. Dymphna's. In an effort to teach Korean immigrants English, she has resorted to using soul music. The ladies in her group use their Korean-English dictionaries to translate The Supremes Complete Songbook, and every week they come back for more.

At the Methodist Home, she's the Princess of Hope as she battles Joan of Old to cheer up everyone in the place. Joan comes at her with every nasty, pessimistic, depressing thing she's got (Nietzsche is a favorite), but every week Amber still manages to make her smile. The battles give the old folks something to look forward to, something to believe in.

At Donna and Ricky's, she's a constant companion and cook: keeping Ricky company after school, coming over early to cook breakfast, and staying later to cook dinner. Even though Donna insists she doesn't have to, Amber loves cooking for them, and feels like it's a small thing to repay all they do for her.

For Private Jackson, she is a pen pal, a companion, and a haiku writer.

At home, she's the proud owner of Bobby Big Boy, a mangy mutt she found abandonded and half-starved. She nursed him back to health, and they've been together ever since.

For the last several months, Amber and her mom have been living in Hello Yellow, the school bus her mom drives. She knows that things are starting to get desperate, but she won't let it get her down...until the unthinkable happens. What becomes of the princess when she loses her hope?

Written in a catchy style that teens will like, Quick captures a spirit and an idea. We all have a breaking point; how do we move on? Amber is a great character, and really fun to read about - I liked watching her succeed (oh c'mon, it's not like you really believed she wouldn't overcome in the end).
"'Here's a little secret between old friends,' Donna says, and then bends down to whisper into my ear. 'Most people-even adults, even grown men-are like teenage boys, only they pretend they are not.' Donna stands up and winks at me. 'People like you and me need to tell them what to do, so that the world won't get too messed up. They want you to give them instructions. They need you to do this. And you know what needs to be done, because you have a good heart-and you have courage. I've seen your good heart at work time and time again over the years. You're all good. One hundred percent. So trust your instincts, and speak your mind tonight. Be brave,'" (Quick pg. 69, 2010).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick August 2013
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Quick, Matthew. (2010). Sorta Like a Rock Star: A novel. New York: Little, Brown.
Quick, M., Holloway, C., & Listening Library. (2010). Sorta Like a Rock Star: A novel. [sound recording]. New York, N.Y: Listening Library.

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