I picked up the ARC of SORTA LIKE A ROCK STAR (Little Brown, May 2010) by Matthew Quick at the Texas Library Association conference. There was a huge stack of them, and I wondered what that meant. Now, I know. This is the kind of book you want to get into as many people's hands as possible because you will read it, love it, and want others to read it too.
The voice takes a little getting used to, but once I was in a chapter or two, Amber had me and I was ready to follow her wherever she wanted to take me. The back of the book says:
"I spread hope.
I'm a hope spreader.
Amber Appleton lives in a bus. Ever since her mom's boyfriend kicked them out, Amber, her mom, and her totally loyal dog, Bobby Big Boy (aka Thrice B) have been camped out in the back of Hello Yellow. But Amber, the self-proclaimed princess of hope, refuses to sweat the bad stuff. Instead, she focuses on bettering the lives of the people around her. But then a fatal tragedy threatens Amber's optimism -- and her way of life. Can Amber survive and continue to be the princess of hope?"
This book is my kind of book. A cast of characters so real and quirky and different, you want to live inside the book and just be around them. I laughed out loud, and I cried, I mean really CRIED, and when I turned the last page, I shouted to the heavens, more books like this PLEASE!!
Award committees - I hope you are listening. Here, maybe if they have their google alerts set: Printz, Printz, Printz, Printz, Printz, Excellence in Young Adult Fiction, ALA, YALSA, Printz, Printz, Printz, Printz!!!
I found this amazing trailer on youtube that is like - whoa, so professional! Check it out, but more importantly, pick up this book. It's available now!!! You won't be sorry.
p.s. The main character in my novel coming out next year, THE DAY BEFORE, is also named Amber. This was decided long before I read this book or even knew this book existed! I have already changed one name in the book, and it was very hard, and I simply cannot change Amber. I swear it is completely coincidental!!