Watch out! This post contains spoilers.
All Together Now is finally coming to Netflix, and we could not be more excited. Starring Auliʻi Cravalho as the main character Amber Appleton, the movie follows Amber’s life as a teenager with musical aspirations and eternal optimism. However, she is clinging to a huge secret – she’s homeless and lives with her mom on a yellow school bus. All Together Now is based on Matthew Quick’s Sorta Like A Rock Star, which depicts seventeen-year-old Amber as unflinchingly optimistic about her dreams to pursue music and attend Carnegie Mellon. If you’re wondering what happens in the book, here’s what to know.
Amber is on a deeply difficult path. Her father left her and her mother when she was just a little girl, and since then, her mother has drifted between jobs and boyfriends, handicapped by her alcoholism. And now, they live on the school bus her mother drives as part of her day job.
Amber’s best friend is Triple B, the dog she found in a shoebox and rescued last year. While her mom goes out to bars, Triple B, or Bobby Big Boy, keeps her company. Amber knows her mother drinks away the money she earns, causing them to go hungry, but she tries not to be mad. She is an eternal optimist and obsessed with Jesus Christ, spreading cheer to everyone she meets. She formed the Franks Freak Force Five at school after meeting her 4 best friends in special education class in fifth grade. She was sent there from missing so much school (on account of her mom’s many trips while she was dating a truck driver), and became best friends with Ricky, an autistic savant, Ty, the only Black student in her school, Chad, who is in a wheelchair, and Jared, who has a speech impediment. They are inseparable, and together, they’re powerful: they even take on the school board to make sure their favorite teacher, Mr. Franks from Drama, doesn’t get fired.
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