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The Scar Boys

(The Scar Boys #1)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  2,288 ratings  ·  439 reviews
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--Har
Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published January 21st 2014 by Egmont USA (first published January 1st 2014)
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Shay Dawn His cowardice is shown in the way he refuses to stand up or support anyone including himself. He talks about an incident where some guy in his class…moreHis cowardice is shown in the way he refuses to stand up or support anyone including himself. He talks about an incident where some guy in his class took his sunglasses and smashed them, yet Harry doesn't do anything about it. He also sees that Johnny is going after Chey (which was against the ground rules of the band) and he never says anything despite being "in love" with Chey. He also shows cowardice by not supporting other characters (selfishness). He talks about a time in school when he saw a girl crying on the swing-set, and although she made it obvious she wished he would come sit beside her so she wouldn't be alone, he left her to cry on the playground by herself. Harry never truly overcomes his cowardice, but his bravery can be seen in the fact he hits Johnny toward the end, that he finally stands up to his dad (in the "freak" incident), when he becomes the lead singer and removes his disguise, and most importantly when he goes to the hospital to see Johnny again.(less)
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3.78  · 
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 ·  2,288 ratings  ·  439 reviews

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Ash Wednesday
You can't hide from the truth, and there's no point in trying.


If, like I was, you're expecting to read about a disfigured and shunned hero beating the odds through the healing powers of 70s punk rock… yeah, you might need to browse some more because you ain't gonna find it here. It seems like that's what this is about, until it isn't.If you're looking for a clever coming-of-age story with a universal message on love, hope, acceptance and finding your self-worth… ummm, well it do
Kat Heckenbach
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, I have to say, I read this immediately after re-reading the Harry Potter series, and it was kind of odd going from Harry, the boy with the lightning bolt scar, to Harry, the boy who was scarred by a lightning bolt. Just saying it was an odd transition...

Anyway, the voice. This is one of those books, written in first person, that really, really makes you forget there was an author who wrote this and the character isn't actually a real person just talking to you. It was so smooth in that ar
Jeffrey West
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A depressingly real book from the perspective of a visibly scarred boy who finds himself through music.
Sally Green
Sep 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this. Not sure it's for a YA audience as I'm not sure the musical references (or other cultural references) will mean much to a fifteen year old in 2016, but they worked for me. The story is set in the 1980s.
I don't normally go for books with musical themes, as I think if I don't get the music it won't work, but really it doesn't matter here. Mainly this is great writing - and that definitely matters. The dialogue works - I can't tell you the number of times I read a book and think 'but he
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
Shallow and idyllic are two words that come to mind. It was a quick and painless read, and pretty much made me feel nothing.

Let me elaborate.

Shallow: So much could have been done with the premise and plot points, but every time something interesting happened we zoomed right past the moment. I wanted more details, and they simply weren't given to me. It seemed more like I was reading the sketch for a movie plot, than about the actual lives of Harry and the Scar Boys. Harry as a narrator always k
Fran Toolan
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not generally a fan of YA fiction, but the story of Harbinger Jones so compelling, that I read it in one sitting.

It has been many,many years since I read Catcher In The Rye, but there seem to be many similarities between Harbinger Jones and the Holden Caufield I remember. A misfit boy finds his way through some badly dealt life-cards and through the torture chamber of the high school years.

As the father of several sons who have already run this gauntlet (and two more just beginning their jo
Bea Haase
Mar 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I really enjoyed this book, but I had some problems with the plot. I felt like sometimes it was rushed and sometimes it was really slow. I really did not know how to rate this book.

Alethea A
Dec 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-debut
Liked it! Someone please buy the film rights, it will rock so much harder with actual sight and sound. Good story, strong debut. Looking forward to more from this author.
Trevor Balsley
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Scar Boys" is the name of a teenage band who goes through many challenges in a coming of age story. The main character was nearly struck by lightning at a young age and has the scars to show for it. I liked that the main character is stuck as almost a sycophant of his so called best friend all the way through the story until he finally breaks free from his clutches and takes control of the band and his own life.
Jan 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Recommended to Liz by: Indielist kids
"Compelling. This book not only captures the feeling of what it is like to form a band, but also the reasons why you form a band. It took me back to that time of being in a van on my very first tour." Peter Buck of R.E.M

To be completely honest, how many times do you see an old school rocker give a compliment to a Y.A novel? Not many, as far as I'm concerned. I also happen to be biased I am a huge fan of R.E.M.

I was that girl in seventh grade who had nothing else better to do than to listen to R
Brandi Kosiner (Brandi Breathes Books)
I decided to read this one because it was available on Netgalley and it had my attention at severely burned teenager. I am a sucker for things like that, so I don't think I even bothered to read more than that.
But my journey with Harry, the main character ended up being so much more than that. Sure, he is scarred, his face and neck, and yes, he has to deal with a lot of bullying and pain. Also, there is the medical aspect of it which I eat up as well. But I got to see Harry evolve into loving
Synopsis: Harbinger Robert Francis Jones (Harry, in short) was almost struck by lightning as a child. But almost is never good enough, and Harry was left with permanent scars that cover his face and shuns him from the world. Through his years of school, Harry has been tormented mercilessly for being an outcast, a freak. But then he meets Johnny, and everything changes when they discover music, and the power of friendship. Thus, out of the ashes, rises a group of young misfit musicians banded tog ...more
May 25, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I ended up skimming the end after getting to the annoyingly foreshadow-y van purchase. The format of the book really started to annoy me (too much retrospective foreshadowing, not enough depth-of-character), and I got the feeling that the author either didn't really remember what it was like to be a teenager, or didn't understand who the audience of this book would/should be. Older rock guys who lived through the 1980s music scene (like blurb-writing Peter Buck of R.E.M.) would like this. Curren ...more
Good friends are hard to come by. Friends that stand by you, defend you and support you through the highs and lows of adolescence are gems. Harry knows this best as he has been left with scars that have made making friends impossible. Until Johnny comes into his life. Johnny is the opposite of Harry in every way, yet the two become close friends.

When Harry is rejected by a girl, Johnny's solution is to start a band. The band, The Scar Boys, becomes Harry's connection to his emotions and his abil
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
I was itching to get my hands on this book as soon as I saw it's synopsis on Edelweiss and I wasn't disappointed. Because hey, books and music are my thing and The Scar Boys just happens to wrap it up in one awesome and well-written package. You know the phrase that goes "Music saves lives"? It sounds cheesy and clichéd but it's true.. and Harbinger Jones' story is a testament to that.

Highly recommended for:

- People who are in a band.
- People who love bands.
- People who love music, period.
- Peop
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, events, one-day-reads
The plot in THE SCAR BOYS is so exquisitely crafted it's hard to believe this is a debut novel. Vlahos's story begins with a start and then goes quiet for several chapters as it builds to its crescendo, leaving readers to wonder what will become of Harry. As the storyline unfolds, you watch the characters' lives and friendships develop as their world opens up because of music. I can't wait to share this with all my buddies, young and old and male and female, who've beheld the transformative powe ...more
Sofia Generali
3.5/5 stars

This was a good, thoroughly-enjoyable, quick novel. I breezed through it in two days and thought it was great fun to read.

This little novel here feels very much like it fits a niche audience of people with experience or interest in starting a garage rock band. I found Harry’s story to be entertaining and enjoyed reading his journeys as the guitar player in a makeshift rock band with friends. Will this book leave a lasting impression on me? No. But was it entertaining to read? Sure!

Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Scar boys is written as Harry writing an essay to a college. I like that because I think it is unique and just cool in general. I also like that it is told in first person because then you get an idea of what it's like for someone like him. Something that I wish the author had done is, give more time in each city they tour just to know what it's like more and what they do instead of leaving right away. It also would have been interesting if the author wrote about each session Harry had with ...more
Hanna Ziegler
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, favorites
It's been a long time since I've read a book in one sitting, but Scar Boys really did it for me. There was something very captivating about the starkness and honesty of the narrator. The story is compelling in every sense of the word, emotionally charged and contemplative without ever feeling dull. I loved the humor and continuous references to music and am planning to read his other books as well!
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was great. A really interesting plot that not a lot of other books have. I really liked how complex the characters were how none of them were really good or bad. The story was also full of twists I did not see a lot coming. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a coming of age novel or realistic fiction.
Cormac O'Hagan
I think that the Scar Boys is a very good book that many teenagers can relate to. I would recommend reading it for most people in high school because more then likely you have dealt with one of the problems the main character is faced with. The ending is pretty good and I don't want to spoil so I would suggest you read it yourself.
Sarah Gates
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book for any budding muscian. Loved the music throwbacks!!
Aidan Moore
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where to start on this book...oh right. MUSIC. Lots of punk rock music. It is great. Particularly if you play guitar. Ten out of ten. I wanted to start a rock band after reading this, but then I remembered Rap now dominates music and I got really sad. Besides that, the struggle of the protagonist is truly very powerful in his attempts to deal with the immense social struggle of his disfigurement. The dialogue is done so damn well and the tension between characters is palpable. I loved this book ...more
3.5 stars.

Review originally posted on Rather Be Reading Blog

If you know my reading preferences, you know I love a story told from a male POV. I also love reading books set in another decade. The Scar Boys takes place over the 70s and 80s from the time that Harry is horrifically injured by a lightning bolt at 8 years old until the time he is in high school, on the road with his band (Scar Boys) and telling the entire story in a personal college essay.

The detail that struck me most about this book
Wendy F
Aug 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I’m completely dumbfounded. On Goodreads Scar Boys has a rating of only 3.77. (The way I read Goodreads ratings, a greater than 4.00 score is best, unless like 10,000 people have read and rated it and then a higher than 3.7 score is acceptable, because the curve is greater.) Scar Boys only has 1220 ratings, so in my head that is not a great score. I would hesitate to read the book, and I DID hesitate to read it. I was turned off.

Well, mud in my face! I must have a different copy of Scar Boys bec
Jan 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is impossible to not fall in love with the main character, Harry, in The Scar Boys.

Harry was burned and horribly disfigured when he was eight years old. He was tied to a tree by some neighborhood boys during a violent thunderstorm. The tree was struck by lightening, and that's how Harry was burned.

He has spent his entire life getting medical treatment, and also psychological help. He has learned some mechanisms for coping, but his life is lonely, and of course he is the victim of bullying.

Brianna C
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss, 2015
I liked this book, but didn't love it. I almost did, but there was something about it that just didn't quite make me go gaga for it.

I absolutely loved the format. He starts of as if he is writing an essay for college while telling his story. There were periodic references to this throughout. It made sense and made it unique. He was able to give a specific POV and it not seem like it was coming out of left field. Also, it was okay to not know everything in the moment.

I really liked Harry. He has
Camden Berry
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Camden Berry
Ms Nagel

This quarter I read The scar boy by Len Vlahos. This book is about a boy named Harry Jones. Harry is deformed due to a childhood tragedy. Hairy was tied to a tree in a storm as a kid by older bullies. The tree he was tied to was struck by lightning and was severely burned on his head, face, chest, and neck. This whole book is the life story of Harry Jones and his struggle with his appearance.

I really liked this book i couldn't put it don't I needed to see what happened
Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
I totally jammed through this book. (Which is absolutely the right words to express how I interacted with it).

Harry (Harbinger) had a rough time growing up. Shy and smaller in his early years, he finds himself at the receiving end of some bullying that turns extra bad due to an unfortunately timed natural event. And let's just say, he's left with scars.

But life goes on. And while past events have made him guarded and cynical, Harry stumbles into a friendship. And that friendship stumbles into m
Liza Wiemer
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
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Contemporary YA: The Scar Boys 1 24 Mar 03, 2015 05:25AM  

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I dropped out of NYU film school in the mid 80s to play guitar and write songs for Woofing Cookies. We were a punk-pop four piece -- think R.E.M. meets the Ramones -- that toured up and down the East Coast, and had two singles and one full-length LP on Midnight Records.

The band broke up in 1987 and I followed my other passion, books. I've worked in the book industry ever since. And, of course, I

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The Scar Boys (2 books)
  • Scar Girl (The Scar Boys, #2)
“People would come and people would go, I realized then, but music would be there until the end of time.” 12 likes
“Music I discovered that night, was a sanctuary, a safe place to hide, a place where scars didn't matter, they didn't exist.” 10 likes
More quotes…