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Scar Boys was another Morris Award finalist. It is also the last of the books on the Morris Award list for the year. Find the others here.

The story is told in the form of a college admissions essay. It is admittedly longer than a typical essay, but the author feels he cannot be known from a few hundred words. Harry was almost struck with lightening after a prank went horribly wrong. This event has defined his life until he meets, Johnny, who makes Harry almost cool by proximity. When Johnny says something that every teenage boy has said (“Let’s start a band!”), Harry’s life changes again.

The story takes us through the usual ups and downs of being in a band. Members dropping out, members taking over, dating each other, breaking up with each other. Over the familiar backdrop, we get the story of Harry, who has always seen himself as less because of his scars, and who has always been a willing sycophant to Johnny, reach a breaking point and find a bit of actual self-awareness.

Harry’s voice candid, sad, with a skewed perception of the world. I enjoyed this book, and read it rather quickly, in a matter of days. Coming off of Carnival at Bray, I’m not sure that it really stood up for me, because it had a very similar feel. I always enjoy a book that references music or stories throughout, and Scar Boys did a great job of doing that without it feeling like name-dropping. Definitely worth the time to read, and kept me turning pages.

Maybe Spoiler Alert…

I really liked the ambiguity of the ending. Everyone seems to have a plan, and Harry brings us up to his present, and so the story ends with the feeling that things will go on.

End possibly spoiler alert.

I like the simplicity of this student-made trailer:

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/P7_TDFDEgCE&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Title: The Scar Boys
Author: Len Vlahos
Pages: 256
Age level: YA
Illustrated: No
Who I would give this book to: Music lovers, as the book is steeped in references and song titles for chapters. Anyone I overhear say “Let’s start a band.” Someone who needs to see that physical attributes don’t have to define you and the the world is only against you because you are against it.
Where I read this book: Mostly on the train, to and from ALA Midwinter.
Setting: East coast, 1980s
Favorite Character: Probably the psychologist. He was the only one who would call Harry out on his bullshit and avoidance of actually living.
Favorite Moment: When Harry is standing at CBGB, looking at the famous signatures and band names.
Rating: 3 stars
Book Source: Library