But Kara never wrote her own ballad. Before she could figure out what her song was about, she left town suddenly at the end of her junior year. Now, four years later, Kara returns to her hometown to face the music, needing to revisit the disastrous events that led to her leaving, in order to move on with her life. Intensely powerful and utterly engaging, Ballads of Suburbia explores the heartbreaking moments when life changes unexpectedly, and reveals the consequences of being forced to grow up too soon.

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Soon the two take to hanging out after school in Scoville Park. Maya jumps right in and creates a spot for them with the gang at Scoville. Kara uses Scoville to help escape life at home. Her parents are constantly at odds and her younger brother, Liam, is as desperate for attention as Kara is. She begins to bring Liam with her to Scoville and he soon becomes another member of the group. These kids know how to party, and slowly Kara gets sucked into the world of drugs by those around here.

But she knows she should be with Christian, the good guy. Friendships are tested and emotions flare. Interspersed throughout the novel, Ms. Kuehnert inserts the "ballads" of various characters. Adrian has in his possession a journal that anyone can read, with the condition that you must first write your own story. Kara can never bring herself to write her story, even when tragedy hits Kuehnert gets right to the heart of the teenage angst and struggles to fit in to any crowd.

Though a bleak look, the ending leaves the reader filled with hope at the future Kara is trying to create for herself. Close X Learn about new offers and get more deals by joining our newsletter Sign up now.


Review: Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert

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. 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. My Thoughts: This by no means was an easy story to read. She parties all night long.


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It is here that the McNaughton family falls apart, here that Kara finds destructive ways to cope with disappointment and stress of a life thrown off its course, here that she carelessly leads her younger brother Liam into that destruction, and here that she loses herself in drugs. If life in the suburbs is being sold under the guise of beauty, tranquility and safety, Kara McNaughton, and author Stephanie Kuehnert, are here in Ballads of Suburbia to tell you that all of that is a lie. For Kara, life begins to drift off course when her best and only friend Stacey moves to Berwyn and the two are split up for the first time in their lives. Faced with entering high school alone, Kara relies heavily on the idea that she and Stacey will maintain their close friendship despite their physical distance. When Stacey forsakes the blood-pact they made the summer prior for a social life filled with new friends and boys, Kara does the only thing she can think of to relieve her emotional pain and begins making small cuts in her left arm. Through Maya, Kara is introduced to a whole host of characters who all but live in the nearby Scoville Park.


Ballads of Suburbia

LOOK at her. Truly genuine, gut retching ballads of punk that convey emotions of love and loss. Songs that tell a story through music and lyrics. These are the kind that Kara McNaughton likes. It all starts with an epilogue that serves as the prologue, set four years later when Kara returns for the first time to face the music and see her best friend Stacey, who started it all unknowingly at the beginning of her freshman year of high school.

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