The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos


scarThe FlavorsThe Scar Boys tastes like a cheeseburger. It Is the quintessential example of life as a teenager. They layers of toppings are mixed and mashed and rearranged in a million different ways. It’s also sweet, salty, greasy and cheap.

The Recipe: Harbinger (Harry) Jones has not had it easy. After being physically scarred as a young child when some neighborhood kids tied him to a tree that got hit by lightning, he has also had to struggle with the emotional scars of depression . This begins to change when Johnny rescues him from some bullies at school and befriends him. Eventually these two guys start a punk rock band. Harry finds new confidence by playing music, but he won’t be able to deal with his own issues until he learns to accept his scars as well as the scars of others.

My Thoughts: Vlahos writes The Scar Boys as a very extended version of a college essay. I liked the format because Harry as the narrator is trying to tell the reader who he is. He is someone who cannot be described by 250 words and some test scores can define him; the reader needs to know the whole story. Following Harry on his journey shows how Vlahos can create a well-rounded character who changes over time. He touches on the typical teenage ideas of friendship, love and rebellion with a backdrop of a burgeoning punk scene in the 70s. This is a short read that gives you quick insight into what it is like to experience trauma and how to grow from it if you can. Johnny is written as your typical teenager on a bit of a power trip and does not come off as very likeable, but I can see why he and Harry were friends. I like at the end we start to see Harry take a bit of control over his life and demonstrate at least some of his independence and drive.

Source: I picked this up as an ARC at ALA.


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