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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert

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-boy 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 their young lives. Now, finally, Kara is ready to write her own.

First off, I want to say that I suck. I have been limiting what I read by choosing my favorite genre of choice YA Paranormal, and have missed out on a lot of excellent novels. Thank goodness that Ballads of Suburbia was not one of them. This novel is amazing and I am so grateful that I read it.

Stephanie is an amazing author. She knows how to write about pain in such a way that it's so raw you can't help but feel it too. I can not count the times that I have cried (or laughed) while reading Ballads. She has truly captured the essence of her characters and not many authors can do that. I felt like I really knew Kara, Liam, and Maya personally. Everything that affected them affected me.

Kara was amazing. She could be a little selfish at times, but I do not think that she ever intended to be that way. She just got caught up into her own wants and problems too easily and turned a blind eye to those around her. She felt real to me. She wasn't the classic heroine or victim. She had her strong points and her weak ones. I love how Stephanie laid her so bare for her readers to see every aspect of Kara. Kara's notebook of "ballads" was a really nice touch, and I loved how that tied in with the rest of the story so perfectly. Liam really grew on me. At first he sort of got on my nerves with his whiny attitude, but I learned to love him. He really looked up to his sister and got his strength from her. Maya was a little firecracker with a lot of secrets. She was good for Kara, but she made her own mistakes (several) and had to learn from them. She broke my heart toward the end, and I would not change anything about this story but that part. (Stephanie, you and I need to talk.)

It really captured my heart, and I can honestly say that Stephanie has became one of my favorite authors. *Reaches for car keys* Now, I am off to buy I Wanna be Your Joey Ramone!


  1. You put me in the mood to more my copy up. Thanks! Incredible review as always. Thanks, Christina, for all the terrific reviews.

  2. Fantastic review! I didn't love I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone so I've been a bit hesitant about this, but after that review, I have to read it!


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