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.

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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.

Kara finally tells the tale of her first three years of high school, and what happened with her and her friends. Kara feels abandoned and begins high school as a loner, spending her time on the couch with Liam, watching music videos and going to the occasional concert in between cutting herself when things get too hard to bear. Maya, who takes Kara out of this slump and introduces her to Scoville Park and the "misfit" kids that hang there. From that moment on, Kara spends the summer and school year going to parties, drinking, taking hits, and eventually winding up in the park, puking from a heroin overdose and almost dying right there.

She survives and is able to realize this is the time for leaving Oak Park and all her problems behind in order to get clean. The language is not wasted. Not a single word is superfluous and every sentence has its role. Stephanie is a wordsmith if I ever met one. Besides the writing and language, there were many other things I enjoyed about Ballads. The characters--harsh, honest, eccentric--resonated and their ballads were poignant. Even the littler characters were fully developed and oustandingly and brilliantly written.

Cass was the strongest of them all. She deals not only with her problems, but with those of her cousin Maya, her mother, her friends, and Quentin, who she becomes really close to throughout the novel. Wes, her brother, tells her before he leaves to take care of everyone for him because she is a guardian angel. So she tries. Even through her failures, she keeps going. Her character is powerful and provides a constant throughout.

There are so many tales of teendom and experiments with drugs that overdo it, the writers believing that, to make the story real, they have to include every profanity they can come up with and make every other scene one of teens shooting up or downing a jack and coke.

The difference here is that Stephanie knows what makes a story real. You can tell that when you read Ballads. Ballads of Suburbia is angsty, severe, mesmerizing, and incisive. I admit to shedding tears multiple times, feeling as if I was a part of it all, just as I admit to smiling when things were going well. I almost did already. I turned the last page and thought to myself "I want to read this again. Right now. Heather p. Or go out an buy it asap.

Also, to get a taste, you can read the first chapter here! Posted by.


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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.


Review: Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert

Okay, this is a tough one. Because, you see, the thing is, Ballads of Suburbia is a great book for a certain person. I thought I would love "Ballads of Suburbia", because I love the 90s. Modern history is just so fascinating to me. But I was born in Therefore, most of our YA books also run on angst.


Ballads of Suburbia

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. She does multiple drugs and drinks herself into a stupor.


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.

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