Welcome to the next Traveling to Teens book blog tour! Created by the lovely Yan and lovely Carol! Today I'm excited to share 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.
Whoa. Ballads of Surburbia was a gritty, real and honest book. It doesn't hold back AT ALL. It's one of those books you couldn't really say you enjoyed per say but are really glad you read. Another book I've said that about is Wintergirls but I much prefer Ballads of Surburbia, I sometimes felt like the book was suffocating me, but there is a reward within it when reading this book.
While the story was rather depressing at times and hard to read it was also exciting and tender. I love how the story of Kara's years in Oak Park are framed by her homecoming. You know she's come out of this almost disaster zone ok, but how did she make it, how did she get there? That's the story of Ballads of Suburbia. I love that the author didn't just start with Kara in high school, she picked pieces of her younger years that made her the person she was when she started high school, and because of that Kara comes off as a really sympathetic character. Yes, at times I wanted to smack her upside the head but for the most part you were taking the journey with her wanting her to come out of it ok.
Another interesting thing the author does is share all the main characters ballads (or stories) in the form of a notebook they all share, giving a snapshot of their background and the reason they are the way they are. And because of that all the character come off as sympathetic, some more so than others but still they all do. Weaving these rich stories for all the main characters makes the story a lot deeper than you would expect, it's really packed to the brim with emotion.
Overall a really intense, emotional, and powerful book that is really worth it.
Ballads of Suburbia was released July 21st.
Genre: Young Adult
ARC provided by publisher for blog tour