Morris Finalist Blog Tour: Review of THE SCAR BOYS by Len Vlahos
Jan 27th, 2015 by Liza Wiemer

The 2015 finalists for the YALSA William C Morris Debut Award:

  • “The Carnival at Bray” written by Jessie Ann Foley, published by Elephant Rock Books (http://www.elephantrockbooks.com/). In 1993, the grunge movement is at its height and Maggie Lynch is living comfortably in Chicago, near Nanny Ei and Uncle Kevin, her musical guru. After her impulsive mother marries and moves the family to a tiny Irish village, Maggie struggles to adjust to the changing world around her.
  • “The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim” written by E.K. Johnston, published by Carolrhoda Lab™, an imprint of Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner Publishing Group (https://www.lernerbooks.com/carolrhodalab/). Owen is training to be a dragon slayer, a crucial job in a world where dragons bring death and destruction. With help from their friends and family, Owen and his bard Siobhan seek the source of a growing dragon threat.
  • “Gabi, a Girl in Pieces” written by Isabel Quintero, published by Cinco Puntos Press (www.cincopuntos.com). Aspiring poet Gabi Hernandez is having a complicated senior year: One of her best friends is pregnant, and the other just came out. Even as her mother worries that she will become a “bad” girl, Gabi adds romance and the quest for college to her already full plate.
  • “The Scar Boys” written by Len Vlahos, published by Egmont Publishing (http://egmontusa.com/). In a college admission essay, Harry Jones reveals the physical and psychological scars of his childhood and the solace and self-confidence he found in friendship and punk music.
  • “The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender” written by Leslye Walton, published by Candlewick Press (http://www.candlewick.com/). Born with a pair of wings, sixteen-year-old Ava Lavender inherits a rich family history and a legacy of heartbreak. After a young man becomes convinced she is an angel, can Ava survive his obsession intact?

My review of THE SCAR BOYS12769538

by Len Vlahos

Published by Egmont USA

Buy it here: Audible | IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

Connect with Len Vlahos: Goodreads | Twitter | Website 

From Goodreads:

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.

My review:

The Scar BoysThe Scar Boys by Len Vlahos

The Scar Boys.

I find myself fumbling for words, struggling to put my thoughts together.

But I’ll try.

Through a super-long college essay – from 250 words to the length of a novel, readers will discover the life-changing event that altered Harry’s life FOREVER! Thanks to some horrible, horrible bullies.

This one act changes Harry’s life forever, and it doesn’t get better until he becomes a member of a band, The Scar Boys, aptly named because of all the scars he carries.

Throughout the novel, readers receive the narrative of the most impactful moments that shaped Harry’s psyche. Some will leave you gasping, cringing, hurting. Others will make you smile, cheer for Harry.

This novel has impact. It will leave you shaking your head, cheering, hoping for a broken soul and a broken body to heal. It leaves you thinking about people who have walked in shoes similar to Harry’s, whatever their physical challenges. It makes you think about the healing power of music, the importance of finding your passion, the basic need that everyone has to be loved, cherished, and how those that should love us, sometimes don’t in the way that’s needed.

The Scar Boys will leave a long-lasting imprint on my mind and in my heart. I have no doubt, I’ll be thinking about these characters and recommending this novel to others.

Bravo to Len Vlahos!

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