Thursday, August 19, 2010

Justine's Thoughts: Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert

Ballads of Suburbia
By Stephanie Kuehnert



Book Description:

Kara hasn’t been back to Oak Park since the end of junior year, when a heroin overdose nearly killed her and sirens heralded her exit. Four years later, she returns to face the music. Her life changed forever back in high school: her family disintegrated, she ran around with a whole new crowd of friends, she partied a little too hard, and she fell in love with gorgeous bad-bay Adrian, who left her to die that day in Scoville Park...

Amid the music, the booze, the drugs, and the drama, her friends filled a notebook with heartbreakingly honest confessions of the moments that defined and shattered young lives. Now, finally, Kara is ready to write her own.

A quote:

Falling in love with someone sounded terrifying. “Falling” implied control; it implied landing badly and hurting yourself.

Any thoughts:

Everyone has a story to tell. Ballads, in this case: “A true ballad is tells a story about real life...A lot of ballads are the mistakes we inevitably while trying to figure out how to live our lives.”

Ballads of Suburbia is a masterpiece. Everything flowed as if Kuehnert carefully planned each occurrence with detail. It was clear that she tied it up all together, inserted the ballads and combined them to make such a significant story.

Throughout the whole novel, I never knew what to expect, but whenever I paused it always had me pondering. I could never get it out of my head. Though the novel mostly has dark, real, mature content, I found myself focusing on the relationships between characters. It was interesting to see how each affected everyone else. It was as if they were all tied together whether they liked it or not.

The ballads seem incredibly real and emotional. Characters write their own story in one notebook, which everyone shares. Each ballad gives a part of their past, a reason why they are who they are, information they wouldn’t normally tell anyone. It gives insight into what’s beneath their shells (all except one who I really dislike).

This novel is so powerful, real, and captivating, that I tore through it. Though depressing and too much at times, I could not stop reading it. I was fully into the story, learning about Kara’s full high school experience. It is so deep and moving that I couldn’t take my mind off of the plot. With the fact that Kuehnert had gone through something Kara was going through, it couldn’t be more real. She knew what Kara was feeling, expressing it in ways I cannot describe. It is one hell of a novel full of ballads, feelings and truth.

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