The Scar Boys

256p. Egmont USA. Jan. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781606844397.
RedReviewStarGr 8 Up—Harry Jones opens his story by submitting a 250-word essay to a college admissions board-only he goes a book length over the limit. In so doing he recounts his traumatic past: the terrifying scene in which neighborhood bullies tied him to a tree and left him as a storm rolled in…and how the tree was struck by lightning, leaving him with disfiguring burn scars all over his face. He then describes his physical and mental recovery: how he formed a band that toured all over the country…and even kissed a girl. Set in the early 1980s, Vlahos's narrative flows easily and rings true. If Brent Runyon's The Burn Journals (Knopf, 2004) and Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Pocket Books, 1999) could be melded into a single work, it might be this one. Distinguished in every way.—Leah Krippner, Harlem High School, Machesney Park, IL
Harry has been considered a freak since, at age eight, he was badly burned after bullies tied him to a tree during a lightning storm. When he's befriended by popular Johnny, he never questions the unequal dynamics of the best-friendship--until their punk-rock band's tour changes everything. Eighteen-year-old Harry's recounting voice is at once earnest, sarcastic, and confused, which should ring true to teens.

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