Monday, August 10, 2009

Ballads of Suburbia

Title: Ballads of Suburbia
Author: Stephanie Kuehnert
Publisher: MTV Books
Reading Level: YA, 14+
Publication Date: July 21, 2009
Pages: 368
My Edition: Paperback

Amazon Page

Cover Rating: A-
Book Rating: A

Plot - 17/20
Characters - 19/20
Writing - 20/20
Originality - 17/10
Entertainment - 9/10
Recommendation - 10/10
Total: 92/100

Ballads are the kind of songs that Kara McNaughton likes best. Not the cliched ones where a diva hits her highest note or a rock band tones it down a couple of notches for the ladies, but the true ballads: the punk rocker or the country crooner telling the story of their life in three minutes, the chorus reminding their listeners of the numerous ways to screw things up. In high school, Kara helped maintain the "Stories of Suburbia" notebook, which contained newspaper articles about bizarre and often tragic events from suburbs all over and personal vignettes that Kara dubbed "ballads" written by her friends in Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago. Those "ballads" were heartbreakingly honest tales of the moments when life changes and a kid is forced to grow up too soon. But Kara never wrote her own ballad. Before she could figure out what her song was about, she was leaving town after a series of disastrous events at the end of her junior year. Four years later, Kara returns to face the music, and tells the tale of her first three years of high school with her friends' "ballads" interspersed throughout.

Ballads of Suburbia is an engaging book that you want to put down a few times while reading it, but can't. At least, that's what happened to me. I read Ballads in one sitting. And it was hard. I tried to put it down for a second, but I couldn't! It was begging for me to pick it up again. I had to know what would happen. I had to know, I just had to.

I cried. I laughed. Kara was such a believable character. All of the characters were so amazingly believable. The struggle they all went through was terribly realistic. I think it made it even more hard to read seeing Kara first when she was so young and then seeing her go through her life like that. It was devastating seeing Kara like that, and Liam too.

I don't think I need to say this, but, of course, Stephanie Kuehnert's writing was impeccable. Just brilliant. So realistic, so engaging. I just have to give her kudos for writing such a mortifying novel so excellent. She's really just a exceptional writer.

*Sorry for being so late Yan! Forgive me?*

1 comment:

  1. I'm hearing nothing but GREAT things about this book! Good review :)



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