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The Scar Boys Hardcover – January 21, 2014


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"Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You"
A heartfelt, humorous story of a teen boy’s impulsive road trip after the shock of his lifetime—told entirely in lists! Learn more
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 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

From Booklist

Harbinger “Harry” Jones was horribly disfigured in a childhood accident involving lightning and a flaming tree branch, but despite years of therapy, he has never been able to move beyond his mangled appearance. He finds some comfort and even popularity as the lead guitarist of the punk outfit The Scar Boys—with his best friend, Johnny, on vocals; stalwart Ritchie on drums; and enigmatic Chey on bass—but it’s still not enough to make him feel like anything but a freak. Playing in the band is the only time Harry feels normal, so he urges the Scar Boys to embark on a tour, which radically changes their lives and gives Harry a healthy dose of perspective. Vlahos’ debut has all the hallmarks of a coming-of-age story, but the first-person narration is compelling enough that it still feels fresh. Harry’s obsession with punk music will appeal to music lovers, while his journey to accept himself for who he is—scarred face and all—is one that will likely resonate with any teen trying to find his way in the world. Grades 9-12. --Sarah Hunter
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: EgmontUSA (January 21, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606844393
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606844397
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 52 customer reviews
This book held my attention the whole time and was a pleasure to read.
R. Song
I think this is a good book for teens both boys and girls and I recommend it as a great summer read.
Barbara Ehrentreu
All of the characters are intriguing, a perfect fit in the story, and well developed.
Wilhelmina Zeitgeist

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By OpheliasOwn VINE VOICE on February 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
How can you convince someone to accept you in 250 words or less? You can't. So Harbinger decides to tell his story. In Len Vlahos' breakout novel, he gives Harbinger a voice, even though he isn't the kind of you man to stand up and shout... or at least he wasn't, until now.

With a name like Harbinger, and a history behind that name that would make you sob, Harry was bound to live a unique life. But how unique?

He was almost struck by lightning.

He wished he was struck by lightning.

He was a methadone addict.

This all happened before he was 10 years old.

When a group of bullies tied him to a tree, they didn't expect or care about the lightning storm that shot a bolt directly at the same tree where he was tied. He wasn't struck by lightning, but the bolt sheared off the top of the tree in a fiery ball of flames and dropped it on an incapacitated Harry. This leads to months of hospitals, reconstructive surgeries that didn't make him look normal again, and a lifetime of hiding his face from disgusted looks. But he never gave up the kids who tied him to the tree. He was scared to death of those kids. But they were probably more scared of him than he was of them.

Harry's life is eventful and uneventful all in one. He doesn't do anything. He isn't a stellar student. His situation is a burden on his parents' lives and marriage. He doesn't even have any friends. Until Johnny moves to his town and his school. Johnny is like an uncontainable force that changes everything in his wake, including Harry. When Harry is rejected by a girl, Johnny says, "Let's start a band." While it seemed out of place and not entirely comforting, a band was exactly what Harry needed. Harry needed to stop being a tool.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Heather Pearson on January 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Read this book, now. If it's currently on your wish list, move it to the top, and if it's not, then it really should be.

Several times while reading, I had to remind myself that it was fiction and not a biography. The descriptions of situations and Harry's emotional responses seemed so real and appropriate for a teenage boy.

Harry has led an unusual life and when completing his application for university, he find that the tiny space available to add supplementary information about himself, is too small. Instead of the allotted 250 words, he starts writing the story of his life, spanning some 200 plus pages. Through his words, we learn of the tragic accident which left him physically scarred and which impacted him long after ward.

Why do I recommend this book. For the most part, we all live safe predictable lives. We feel sorry for ourselves when something bad happens to us. Bad might be failing a test we didn't study for, missing out on a sale price on a desired piece of clothing, or sprouting a pimple the day before school photos. This story will help put your views back in perspective. From a parents point of view, it serves as a reminder to value your children for who they are, not who we want them to be or who they might have grown up to be if only some malady or mishap hadn't happened.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jlmac3011 on June 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
What makes my reading experience more interesting is when I can relate to the characters. It could be the name of the character, an experience they had, or the same interests. I found that in this book. I could relate to Harry and all his scars.

There are issues in this book that, I think, will speak to many readers. In this day and age we see on the news, the internet, and even in our day to day lives bullying. It's become this big issue in our schools and unfortunately it doesn't ever stop. Someone is always ready to step in and take up the position of bully. If we look close enough we might just see in our own situations that either we were the bully or we were the one being bullied. This story just spoke volumes to me. With the incident that happened to Harry that left him scarred to the treatment he received because of those scars had my heart breaking for him. I could relate. I didn't get my scars from intentional meanness, but from whatever genetics were at work in my DNA. For my whole life I have had a skin reaction to the sun. My body has scars from it. I was teased for it. Just like Harry. He was teased for his scars, I'm sure his were way worse than mine but I could just feel all those feelings again while reading this book.

There's so much emotion in this book. Harry does find a way to become more than his scars. His friendship with Johnny is that turning point. Music becomes their thing, and eventually they have their band...The Scar Boys. I loved reading Harry's journey. It wasn't an easy one but I wouldn't want it to be that way. Life is not easy and things don't wrap up in nice little packages. Harry learns a few things a long the way and I believe he is a better, stronger person for it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Miller VINE VOICE on April 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Summary:
Written as a college entrance essay, Harry has blown the 250 word limit away by including roughly 250 pages of his life story. He talks about the incident in which he was tied to a tree when it was struck by lightning and the burns from it being on fire. Those led to both physical and emotional traumas that he has to deal with on a daily basis. Tons of hospital visits and a lifetime of dealing with the horror struck looks on people's faces have left him with raw emotions. On the other side, he's found himself in a band. Music gives him a chance to let people see a different side of him. This band propels Harry forward and makes he be much more than he thought possible.

My thoughts:
Wow! This is my favorite book of the month. Harry is humorous, tear-jerking, and hopeful. He's gone through so much and he lays it all out there for us to go through and digest. Johnny, the boy who "saved" Harry also grows through the story. It's amazing to see how much growth is obtained by the main characters even though the story is focused as an autobiographical look inside of Harry. Honestly, I did cry a few times within the book, but I also laughed out loud far more. I think this would be a perfect read for a high school boy. It's so hard to find good literature for this group that is realistic. This fits extremely well and I'm so glad that I had an opportunity to read it.
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