Thursday, January 16, 2014

Book Review: The Scar Boys, by Len Vlahos @LenVlahos

It is impossible to not fall in love with the main character, Harry, in The Scar Boys.

Harry was burned and horribly disfigured when he was eight years old. He was tied to a tree by some neighborhood boys during a violent thunderstorm. The tree was struck by lightening, and that's how Harry was burned.

He has spent his entire life getting medical treatment, and also psychological help. He has learned some mechanisms for coping, but his life is lonely, and of course he is the victim of bullying.

Enter Johnny. Johnny takes a liking to Harry, and they become fast friends. Harry is so desperate to have a friend, that he becomes somewhat subservient to Johnny. When Johnny decides they are going to start a band, Harry is on board. Harry even takes guitar lessons, and it turns out that the band becomes Harry's savior.

The Scar Boys (the name of the band) become somewhat successful locally, and eventually they decide to go on tour over the summer, before Johnny enters college in the fall. The road trip turns out to be more than just the band playing gigs, it changes everyone's life.

The characters are special. Besides Johnny and Harry, there's Cheyenne, the only female member of the band, and of course there's a romantic sub-plot. The plot is interesting enough to keep the pages turning, even though this is mostly a story of Harry's growth.

The Scar Boys is supposedly Harry's 250 word college application essay that blossoms into this story. He does address the application committee once in a while, but this really was a non-issue for me. I pretty much forgot it was an essay.

I love that the chapter titles were each song titles. Harry provides the writer and performer of each song, and I could pretty much hum the tune to almost all of them.

The Scar Boys is an entertaining coming-of-age story about a very special boy and how music changed his life. It's very short, so you can recommend it to your reluctant readers, your underdogs, and your music lovers. I know I will.

Published by EgmontUSA, January 21, 2014
eARC obtained from NetGalley
256 pages (Qualifies for my Books You Can Read in a Day Challenge!)

Rating: 4/5

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  1. I've been looking for a short, moving read. Maybe this is just the thing :)

  2. I will have to look into it. Music is my other main passion...but it's hard to find a book that doesn't play on the glamorous aspect of it. Pretty much the only one I was able to find (and love) was Luna-C by Jutta Goetze, which I also gave 4.5 stars to on my blog.


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