Release Date: July 21, 2009
Publisher: MTV Books
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.
Kara a character I easily saw myself through and at the same time saw many of my friends in as well. When she arrives at high school without her best friend, Stacey, there's one question: Where does she fit in? While she's content with hanging out with her younger brother, Liam, you know she wants something more. And soon she's making friends again and ends up at Scoville Park.
In high school, things change. We all know that. Most of the time by the graduation, you possibly have friends you didn't have when you first walked into the building. I think this book does a great job of covering a high school experience. Over the courses of chapters, you see Kara change. Sometimes for the better and sometimes not so much at all. From how she acts when she's at home to how she acts when she's around a certain crowd. How she deals with her parents fighting or things that happen to her. And how a choice can easily change things within the matter of seconds.
It's not just Kara's story you get to hear. Throughout the book you get to take a glimpse of her friends' lives through their written out 'ballads'. What I enjoyed and what I think made the really made the characters was this. You hear from Stacey (who was one of my favorites to read about), Cass, Adrian (character crush alert! damn those bad boys...), Christian, Liam, and Maya. It gave me a better understanding of who they were, and why they acted the way they did. (Though how I view Christian is still very rocky, but I think that's just how it's supposed to be.) It was as if I stumbled upon the notebook myself while reading them. Each party Kara is taken to or a concert or any event she does, I felt as if I were right there.
This book really does have it all. Relationships with friends and family. Times were you'll find yourself laughing and other times worried about the people that are in it. What will happen with the choices they make? Will Kara be okay? I think there couldn't have been a better ending for this.
Stephanie Kuehnert captivated a voice I would have loved to read when I was in high school. No, scratch that. A voice I needed and wanted to hear back then. But I'm glad something like this is out there for now for other teens to be able to read. The issues in this book are heavy. I think some people might shy away from this, but even if it's not your normal type of read, I hope you'll still pick it up and give it a shot. It definitely deserves it.