Review: Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert

Posted March 22, 2013 by Annie in Reviews / 4 Comments

I received this book for free from Purchased in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Review: Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert
Ballads of Suburbia
by Stephanie Kuehnert

5 Stars

BOOK INFO


Released: July 21, 2009
Published by MTV Books
Pages: 344
 

 

The back story of each character was so well-done and intricate that reading their ballads seem to display them in their most raw state and seeing their internal struggles with themselves was sometimes hard to read, but very successful in creating that emotional bond between the reader and the characters. ~ Under the Covers

Back when I was reading only YA books, I came upon this book while I was browsing the shelves at Indigo in Downtown Toronto between some of my classes. There was something about this book that caught my attention. Maybe it was the cover, maybe it was the title or the back blurb, but I knew I just had to read this book. I read and loved it then. And now, in the wake of the new boom of New Adult books, I remembered this special gem that caught my eye a long time ago. So I went back to revisit it for a reread and it’s just as good as I remembered.

BALLADS OF SUBURBIA is a teen novel that deals with a lot of bad things. You’ve got suicide, depression, drug abuse, overdose, unsafe sex, teen pregnancy, abuse, grief and the works. That being said, it pushes the maturity level so that it feels more like a New Adult book than a simple YA novel. Of course, when it came out, NA wasn’t a thing yet but I thought I’d bring this back on the radar and hopefully get readers interested in this book because it is a great one.

This book follows Kara who in her junior year of high school had a heroin overdose that nearly killed her. She left the school and moved to bigger and better things, but four years later, she returns to Scoville Park where her very dark past catches up with her. When she returns, she meets up with her old friends – and I use this term loosely – and revisits her old life.  Drama unlike anything you’ve ever seen occurs and it’s both gripping and heartbreaking to watch. Not only do you find out what happened to her friends after the years she left, but you also get glimpses of what they are going thoroughly presently and it’s not always good.

What’s unique about this book is the way it’s written. Kuehnert is heavily influenced by music and you can see that throughout the pages. But perhaps the best – and the most heartbreaking – thing about this book are the Ballads that each character writes. They’re almost like short tell-alls that reveal the innermost thoughts and secrets of each character. God, they were so consuming and reading some of them simply crushed my heart. The back story of each character was so well-done and intricate that reading their ballads seem to display them in their most raw state and seeing their internal struggles with themselves was sometimes hard to read, but very successful in creating that emotional bond between the reader and the characters.

I loved this book so much and I’m hoping that this will convince readers to pick up this older book and give it to try. It’s emotional and angsty with a few twists along the way. And there’s a hero named Adrian whom I both loved and hated. Nevertheless, I couldn’t find myself putting this book down.

Did you like this review? If so, please tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Annie
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Annie

Blogger/Reviewer at Under the Covers Book Blog
I’m an obsessive makeup junkie and a compulsive reader. I like to call Under the Covers Book Blog my stomping ground, but when I’m not talking about books with my girls, I write New Adult Dystopian and Contemporary Romance under the pen name Ana Jolene (http://www.anajolene.com). I also work as a virtual assistant for authors. You also can find me as a reviewer and columnist for FreshFiction.com.

When it comes to books I’m pretty adventurous. I read everything from Paranormal Romance to Urban Fantasy, New Adult, BDSM, LGBT fiction, Cozy Mysteries and even YA. If it’s got the littlest trace of romance in it, then I’ll probably read it. That being said, my all-time favorite authors are J.R. Ward and Karen Marie Moning.

When I’m not submerged in a good book, you can find me musing about makeup and planners or dreaming about Kpop boys and beaches. Until then, check out my reviews and let’s talk books!
Annie
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ARC Review + Excerpt: Breaking Nova by Jessica Sorensen | Under the Covers Book BlogUnder the Covers Book BlogTimitraLori Meehan Recent comment authors
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Lori Meehan

Thanks for the review Ann.

Timitra
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Timitra

Thanks for the recommend and author intro Ann!

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ARC Review + Excerpt: Breaking Nova by Jessica Sorensen | Under the Covers Book Blog

[…] This was just an afterthought that I figured I should add to the end of this review: BREAKING NOVA reminded me a little of this other book I read a long time ago called Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert. It’s another fabulously written story that I think deals with a lot of the same issues that Nova and Quinton suffer from, dealings with drug abuse and also grief. I think it’s worth checking out as you wait for book two in this series. You can check out my review for it here. […]