As a kid, Harry was tied to a tree by bullies and abandoned there when a storm came in. When the storm was over, the tree was halved and incinerated by a lightening bolt and Harry was left alive but irrevocably scarred both outside and in. Most of his life, it was hard to maintain friendships, but when enigmatic and handsome Johnny takes a shine to him and suggests they start a band, things begin to turn around. The Scar Boys start out small, but with the addition of their lovely bass player and a chance at CBGB’s new band night, they start to gain traction not just in their school but in the underground music scene. But friendships and loyalties will be tested when the band decides to go on tour the summer before Johnny’s college year.
This book is very cute! I am not sure how much teens would love it these days. It is told in third person, retrospectively, and feels very much like a Wonder-Years kind of narration, if Fred Savage was the scarred lead guitarist in an underground punk band. The story feels very true to how friendships change over the course of high school (especially when band drama gets in the way), and it’s great to see Harry blossom with music as his guide. The one girl character is a little, you know, typical dream sexy bass player girl who is mostly there to be a foil to the guys, who all adore her. She gets a follow-up book, so maybe we get some more nuance there. Some of the narration is a tad trite. But there’s also a lot of humor and great music references – each chapter is named after a different rock song. You can enjoy a playlist of songs on Spotify. If you want a chill lazy summer read and are an underground music lover, you might pick up this one!