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.