Len Vlahos’s novel, The Scar Boys, written in the guise of an extended college admissions essay, recounts the story of Harbinger (Harry) Robert Francis Jones, who was struck by lightning as a child leaving him horribly disfigured. When a new kid at school befriends him, everything changes. They form a band, and thus begins the story of his first step toward living, rather than waiting around for things to get better. The novel offers a few bright glimpses of insight into the life of an outcast, but mostly the story is about Harry being forced to really look at himself and recognize that most of what has happened to him is the result of his own unwillingness to try. Throughout the story his down-in-the-dumps, expectation of rejection made me want to scream along with his shrink, “You are such a schmuck, Harry.” The climactic confrontation with his friend feels a little contrived but nevertheless provides him with the understanding necessary to move him beyond self-pity and fortunately, the lessons he needs to learn finally sink in . A story of friendship, self-discovery, and a nod to the redemptive force that music can offer, The Scar Boys will appeal to boys, fans of music from the 1980s and those who think they have it bad, and need to be ‘slapped” back into reality.
Sex = 1/2 S
Violence = 0
Questionable Behavior = ? (mild drinking and drug use, swearing)