Apparently, I'm Recommending Things

Jeeper creepers, I've had an eventful week.  I've been to Disney with the family, as well as the Phillies Spring Training but what's grabbing me today, in particular, are two things. Thing Number One: On the plane ride home from Florida, I read an ARC (Advanced Review Copy) of SORTA LIKE A ROCK STAR by Matthew Quick.  I learned about Matthew from Twitter and when his editor, Alvina Ling from Little, Brown, mentioned him in her talk at the New York SCBWI conference, I decided that I wanted to learn more. It turns out that Matthew is a local boy - born and raised in Philadelphia and an alumnus of Lehigh University. Since I love to support authors, and most especially local authors,  I requested an ARC of his book. (Side note: I had some strange impression that published authors are like Hollywood stars, inaccessible and uninterested in the common folk. I couldn't be more wrong and thrilled to be wrong.  I've written several authors recently and each of them has replied quickly and with enthusiasm to my questions). 

Back to SORTA LIKE A ROCK STAR, the main character, Amber Appleton, is living on a bus with her alcoholic mother but despite that, she is a beacon of hope to the many people she spends time with.  The book yanked me in from the start through Amber's unique, quirky voice and though I shed more than a few tears into my scarf on the plane, I could not put the book down.  Simply put, it's a stunning story of a young woman coming to terms with loss and accepting help from the people who care so deeply for her.  

Even at my age, I related to Amber's sense of confusion in terms of how she views herself versus how others see her and her struggle to find faith in the midst of tragedy. And Matthew didn't quit with the development of his amazing main character.  Amber's life is full of well-developed secondary characters who each come his or her own interesting story. The book comes out in May - go buy it.  Your soul will thank you. 

And what was Thing Number Two?  Oh yeah, I had the chance to talk to my wonderful college roommate yesterday on the phone and it gave me a boost.  We haven't seen one another in a long time since she lives on the West Coast and I'm a lousy friend.  When I hung up, I was thinking about that odd feeling of reconnecting with someone who knows me well but from a different time in my life.  It felt reassuring to talk to her, like my history is grounded somewhere, in the memories of the people I've been close to.  

Oh, and all the events of last week?  Fun!  And tiring.  I've got to be honest, though - Disney wasn't quite as magical to me this time around. Crowded and long lines, it just didn't have that certain je ne sais quoi.  The highlights for me were a spontaneous return trip to Magic Kingdom at 10 pm with the kids and hubby to catch the fireworks and Space Mountain.  And, dear old Walt, please forgive me, but we also hit Universal Studios which I LOVED and highly recommend to people with tweens.  

And Thing The Last:  The Phillies!  Another experience I highly recommend: go to a spring training game.  The stadium is tiny so there isn't a bad seat, the parking lot is a breeze and the boys are RIGHT THERE in front of you!  They played the Yankees the day we were there.  We started off strong with a 5-1 lead but then blew it and by the 9th, we were tied 7-7.  Then some new kid from the minors hit a walk-off homeroom bringing in Greg Dobbs for a final score of 9-7 Phillies!  It was a day that made me impatient for the baseball season to start. 

Okay, people, I'm glad I connected and now - I'm out.