The Scar Boys is about a boy named Harry who is telling his story through an essay for his college application. He wants them to know who he really is, and doesn’t think 250 words is enough to convey himself. His story starts with when he was almost struck by lightning, which resulted in some severe injuries that leave him covered in scars.
Harry’s story is full of woe, with his surgeries and counseling, and the bullies at school who seem to always choose him as a target, up until the point where a confident boy named Johnny takes him under his wing. Harry and Johnny’s friendship forms fast and easily, but as they grow up, their relationship is far from perfect. Johnny helps Harry come out of his shell, but seems to always have him on a leash at the same time.
For a while I couldn’t stand Johnny’s character, but I think it was because of the growing hostility from Harry towards him that tainted my view of him. By the end of the book, my perspective of Johnny was totally different, for the most part.
After Harry’s first heartbreak, Johnny suggests they start a band, and so they do. Johnny gathers the bandmates, and before long their writing songs and practicing in Harry’s parent’s garage. Music becomes his main escape, his passion.
My favorite part of this book was how Harry was constantly learning, whether it was about himself, or other people, he was always trying to move forward. Even though he starts to allow himself to be put down and used, and doesn’t know how to enjoy the good things in his life at first, he’s never a hard character to like.
If you asked me what this story is about, I would say it’s about friendship and growing up and music, and the awful things that can happen in life that can result in the most beautiful things. The Scar Boys isn’t just about one thing.
I really, really enjoyed this book. I cried, I laughed, and I adored how this book made me feel, and it really does make you feel everything Harry feels. I doubt I would have been as invested in this book if the narration wasn’t so compelling. I was hooked and drawn in by the easy voice and writing style that made it feel like Harry was sitting next to me, telling me his story.
If you’ve read The Scar Boys, be sure to check out this article on Len Vlahos blog where he talks about his first draft of The Scar Boys.