Ballads of Suburbia
Stephanie KuehnertQuestions and Topics for Discussion
1. “The ballad of suburbia: give me loud to drown out the silence,” Kara says as she bonds with Liam over live music. Silence is a major theme in the novel. Discuss the ways in which Kara and her friends cope with the silence. Why is it necessary for them to drown it out?
2. Kara and Maya’s friendship is initially formed because they recognize each other’s punk rock style. Identify some of the other moments where the main characters search for social and cultural markers on the road toward friendship and romantic interests. Do these initial and sometimes superficial connections often lead to lasting relationships? Why or why not?
3. Kara, Wes, and Liam move away from the “safety” of suburbia to heal. After Quentin’s death, Kara says the parents are in “suburban witch-hunt mode.” What does this imply about the conventional ideas about the suburbs? What does this say about the significance of appearances? Are appearances more important to the parents, or their children? In what ways?
4. Maya, Kara, Christian, and Liam all fantasize about escaping to Florida. Figuratively and literally, in what ways do the characters escape? What are they escaping from?
5. Scoville Park becomes everyone’s stomping ground. What does Scoville Park represent? How does the perception of this place evol