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Scar Boys by Len Vlahos

Scar Boys There’s always a pile or two of books that Sunnie has gotten from the libraries, or some of her other sources, that are waiting to be read. I selected ‘The Scar Boys’ from the depths of one of those piles for a couple of reasons: it looked like a quick read, and I wanted to see just how well the story measured up to the reality of being in an original rock band.

As an aside: I’ve only relatively recently discovered teen books, having seemingly skipped from children’s books straight to adult fiction. I thought that most of this “Young Adult, ” genre was fluffy stuff about kids challenged by dating issues and being the captain of the soccer team or the dilemma of being friends with a werewolf. But Sunnie reads a lot of books, and chooses them carefully. Starting a couple of years ago, she began feeding me some really good teen books and before I knew it I became totally enthralled with stories by Andrew Smith, S.E. Hinton and other authors of the genre.

I was in an original rock band for some years, and every time I read about characters doing this sort of thing, there’s usually something quite false about it. I’m not sure why some authors think that if you can strum a chord, you’re an automatic rock star. There is so much more to being in a band than gets touched upon in most stories. But, ‘The Scar Boys’ is different. I liked it. It struck true.

The story opens with the main character, Harry, being disfigured after a bullying incident at a young age. Five years later he is still in bad shape physically and emotionally. He meets charismatic Johnny, one thing progresses to another, and they form a friendship and a band.

The band goes through trials that so often happen to other bands‐ the problems of getting gigs, money needed for recording, band members dropping out, and lack of communication. It wasn’t a bad thing, either, that, in making it an authentic teen book, both Johnny and Harry were romantically interested in the same girl.

This book wasn’t dull in any way. I wanted to know how it all turned out for Harry. You might want to, too.   -AEL

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