Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick
Amber Appleton’s life is pretty grim, but with her sunny disposition and never give up attitude, she manages to rise above her circumstances. Amber’s dad left when she was a baby; her mother is a raging alcoholic who has trouble keeping a job and a man. Amber and her mother are currently living on a school bus, which Amber’s mother drives during the day. But she doesn’t let all this get her down. Instead, she forges unusual friendships and helps others. Amber not only visits the old folks’ home, she organizes duels with Joan of Old, who is as relentlessly negative as Amber is positive. She uses Aretha Franklin songs to teach English to Korean ladies at the Catholic church and calls them the “KDFC” or “Korean Divas for Christ.” Through her dog, Bobby Big Boy aka B3 aka B Thrice, Amber befriends and trades haikus with a Vietnam vet. Amber has a wonderful role model and support person in Donna, the powerhouse lawyer who is the mother of her best friend who just happens to be autistic. Despite all her positive mojo, Amber feels the pain of her life, and when tragedy strikes her family, she shuts down. Sorta Like a Rock Star is a feel good novel about very bad things; it made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me wish I could be Amber Appleton’s friend.