Scar Girl

272p. ebook available. Carolrhoda Lab. Mar. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781606846070.
Gr 9 Up—Set in the late 1980s, Scar Girl showcases The Scar Boys (Egmont, 2014), an unlikely group of gifted musicians, back together in this sequel. Presented as a Rolling Stone-type interview with three of the band members, the story attempts to string together a narrative of how they made it big and got messed up—the way bands do. Vlahos's voice is as strong as ever—the trouble is that he's assigned the same voice to three different people. Without reading the section headers, it is very difficult to distinguish among characters. The novel almost stands on its own, lurching from one formulaic problem to the next. The first half features Cheyenne dealing with an unexpected pregnancy; readers then move on to her late-term miscarriage, Vicodin addiction, and alcoholism. The narrative wraps up by explaining why the fourth band member isn't interviewed, and readers never really engage with one problem before they're pushed on to the next one.
VERDICT Maybe you can't catch lightning in a bottle twice; the voice is there, but the story struggles to hold together. Purchase where The Scar Boys have been rock stars already.

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