Friday, January 24, 2014


Well written with a very strong voice, The Scar Boys is one of those books that isn't that easy to categorize as YA or adult. There should be a book genre called Adult Nostalgia. Because I can see adults enjoying this as much or more than an average teen since this takes place during the rise of Punk music.

Over the last while I have decided that I don't care for memoir books, but this felt like a really amazing memoir. It isn't full of manufactured emotions even though it could have felt that way with how dramatic this story is sometimes. It just felt real and honest and so observant of basic human behavior. This might be the most enjoyable time I have had being in the mind of a character that really hates himself, but doesn't really want to.

A severely burned teenager. A guitar. Punk rock. The chords of a rock 'n' roll road trip in a coming-of-age novel that is a must-read story about finding your place in the world...even if you carry scars inside and out.

In attempting to describe himself in his college application essay--help us to become acquainted with you beyond your courses, grades, and test scores--Harbinger (Harry) Jones goes way beyond the 250-word limit and gives a full account of his life.

The first defining moment: the day the neighborhood goons tied him to a tree during a lightning storm when he was 8 years old, and the tree was struck and caught fire. Harry was badly burned and has had to live with the physical and emotional scars, reactions from strangers, bullying, and loneliness that instantly became his everyday reality.

The second defining moment: the day in 8th grade when the handsome, charismatic Johnny rescued him from the bullies and then made the startling suggestion that they start a band together. Harry discovered that playing music transported him out of his nightmare of a world, and he finally had something that compelled people to look beyond his physical appearance. Harry's description of his life in his essay is both humorous and heart-wrenching. He had a steeper road to climb than the average kid, but he ends up learning something about personal power, friendship, first love, and how to fit in the world. While he's looking back at the moments that have shaped his life, most of this story takes place while Harry is in high school and the summer after he graduates.

Thanks to NetGalley for this read.

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