Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Scar Boys

I read the book Wonder when it came out.  Well, I listened to the audiobook.  It was great, except I listened in my car.  If you haven't read it, you should; if you have, well, you know that sobbing mid-commute isn't the safest.  

The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos is kind of like Wonder for a slightly older crowd.  It's Wonder on sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll (not necessarily in that order).

When Harbinger Jones was 8 years old, he was tied to a tree that was struck by lightning.  His face was horribly burned.  After years of being bullied, he is rescued by his new friend Johnny.  The two start a band, and onstage Harry can just be.  Watching the journey of the band, friendships, love, and family is both humorous and heart wrenching.  Told by Harry as a letter to the Faceless Admissions Professional, as part of a college application, we are transported back to high school in the 80s.  And we will laugh and cry right along with him.

I liked this more than I anticipated (I know, I hate admitting that I wasn't thrilled about starting a book).  Part of it has to do with my love for Freaks & Geeks (and since it's the same time frame, and both have great soundtracks...).  As I read, though, I found I really related to Harry.  While I don't have anxiety to the extreme he does, I do have it.  His attempting to explain it was so spot-on, and it's one of those things that unless someone experiences it- they don't get it.  I absolutely empathized with his panic attack.  

It's a great coming-of-age novel, and Harry's narration is both sarcastic and heartfelt.  His use of vocabulary is great (and he lets you know they're SAT words, so pay attention kids!)  You forget he's writing to the FAP- until, of course, he addresses him/her.  

The story of how he got his name was great- I've actually flipped back to that twice since finishing the book, just to re-read it.  I also liked the soundtrack that accompanied each chapter.  They should sell the book with a CD (or, whatever, a playlist code...QR code...thing).

The Scar Boys will appeal to teens, and I think especially teen boys.  It's a story of love, rock'n'roll, friends, family, bullying, heartbreak, and coming into one's own.  I think they will also relate to the scenarios that go through Harry's head, along with the options he ends up choosing.  It's hard enough being a teenager, but throw in horrible scarring and it's got to be almost unbearable.  Teens will appreciate Harry's courage and chutzpah, and will hopefully be inspired to go forth, do great things, and follow their dreams.

The Scar Boys is published by Egmont USA.  Review copy graciously provided by publisher.
Release Date: 01.21.2014

No comments:

Post a Comment