Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sorta Like a Rock Star

Give it up for the Princess of Hope, the last of the crazy optimists, Amber Appleton! From teaching English to Korean immigrants via R&B lyrics, to her weekly battle of words with a determined nihilist for the entertainment of lonely nursing-home residents, to her regular haiku exchanges with a Vietnam vet, this teenager does her best to shine a little joy into the lives of the people she encounters on a daily basis, in Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick.

Except that her own life isn't so miraculous. Unbeknownst to anyone, Amber, her mom, and her beloved dog, Bobby Big Boy, are living on a school bus in the middle of winter and scraping by on the wages of one part-time job.
Still, she is determined that nothing will crush her spirit. Then the unthinkable happens, and the girl who thought nothing could ever dim her joy suddenly finds that all the light has gone out of her life. Can the people that she's been helping all along return the favor?

I had my doubts about this book, and about Amber. Quirky Pollyanna characters can get really annoying, really fast. But Amber won me over, as much with her darkness as with her light. Funny, poignant, and hopeful, this book caught me right away and makes me want to share the joy.

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