Matthew Quick is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors. After reading Silver Linings Playbook, I couldn’t stop gushing about it. My coworkers (thanks Liza and Charidy!) recommended Sorta Like A Rockstar, saying that it was their first Matthew Quick read and they absolutely loved it. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it; I mean, how can an author who writes adult fiction so well really get into the mindset of a teenage girl and pull off a successful YA story? Well, Matthew Quick did it…and rocked it.
Amber Appleton is not your average teenager. She lives on a Hello Yellow with her mother, who drives school buses when she’s sober. Her best friends include an autistic math genius, a black kid, Jared and his brother who never grew, a Vietnam war vet, a Korean priest, and Bobby Big Boy (aka. Thrice B/BBB), her dog. Despite living in utter poverty, Amber is the shining ray of hope in many lives. She visits a retirement home every Wednesday, where she has an optimism vs. pessimism showdown with a Neitzsche-quoting sourpuss (and wins every time), she teaches English to a group of Korean women through the power of soul music, she helps to save her Marketing teacher’s job, and she write dog-themed Haiku’s for Private Jackson, the war veteran who hates people and never ventures out.
The world turns upside down when Amber’s mother is raped and killed. The rays of hope that keep her up and close to ‘JC’ are gone and nothing means anything to her anymore. The book tugs at all the heartstrings, from loss to hope to community. It is an inspirational story about how powerful it is to be able to touch the lives of others and have them, in turn, touch yours.
Warning: read this book with some Kleenex by your side. Thank goodness I wasn’t reading in public, because the end made me ‘ugly cry’. I’ve always maintained that I try to stay away from books that make me cry (I’m not one that finds crying cathartic) but I have to say, I just loved this book. When I finished it, I hugged it. It’s a beautiful story filled with humour and teenage realism. Matthew Quick’s imagination makes one hell of a badass teenage girl.