review: Scar Boys by Len Vlahos


The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos is the story of Harry – an oft-bullied teen who face is covered in scars following an unfortunate lightning incident. I’ll let you read the book to get those details…

Harry’s best friend Johnny is the popular, smart, handsome one. He’s not sure why they are really friends, but Harry goes along with it, if for no other reason than Johnny is the lead singer in their band, The Scar Boys – a nod to Harry’s face, and a pretty rad name for a band. The Scar Boys – who just so happen to have a gorgeous chick rocking out with them – go on the road to see if they have what it takes to go all the way. What happens on that trip, and most importantly, what happens to Harry, is life-changing.

I read an advanced copy of this while I was flying home from Las Vegas last summer, and was immediately drawn in. Harry carried his horrific childhood with him, even though he tried his best not to. When his time to shine arrived, his reaction stunned me.

This book comes out tomorrow, and I suggest you pick it up. And read Len’s essay here. He’s the kind of guy I’d like to have a drink with, and discuss life – not on an existential level, but life stories.

Recommended for: 
I think teen boys will connect to the raw emotions and words. Adult men will appreciate the musical influences, and might even re-live their own former rock band days.

A.S. King books are quite similar to this one because the characters have been dealt a bad hand and they have to figure out if they are going to let the negative overtake them, or if they will over the negativity.


More of a good thing

That moment when a library guest teaches my something. *swoon*

I overhear my coworkers helping a patron find a good fantasy book, so I hurry to “H- Hartman” and pluck the audiobook of Seraphina off the shelf. Then she asks for the print version.

Heart. Broken.

The audio is so good! I’ve actually considered checking out other books read by that narrator simply because of how beautiful her voice is.

Of course the print version isn’t here. I’m recommending the title to every third person who walks in. So the customer appeases me and puts the title into Goodreads and out comes this little gem:

The Audition, the free prequel on eBook! Go. Read. Now!!! (This is not a true recommendation, as I have not read it yet.) I just found my Tuesday evening activity.

Music in the Library

Our friends across the pond have the right idea about music and libraries: put live music and solid music collections in the library, and you will attract a whole new crowd of users. Get It Loud in Libraries has hosted over 70 shows already (including performances by Adele and Juliette Lewis) and hosts 8-12 each year. Tickets are not free (approx. 8 euro), but the nominal price isn’t even close to being a hindrance. In a recent interview, founder of GILIL said in response to How have you had to adapt to cuts to arts funding?, “The ethos for GILIL has been to simply keep doing what we are doing and make times better for everyone through great live music and to show the community that libraries are very relevant and necessary in 2011.”

I absolutely love the idea of collaboration between musicians, librarians, and library collections. Instead of just hosting a gig and saying, “See you later” the libraries are building their music collections. This is not just a one-and-done program, it is an on-going effort to appeal to a whole different kind of library user. (GILIL even uses teens as volunteers “creating art for posters, front of house duties, shadowing sound engineers etc.”!!)

Check out the juxtaposition of the amps next to the books. I love this picture!!!

One the heels of that interview, I read about Chicago’s Harold Washington Library Center’s new 5,500 sqft space called “YOUmedia — a Digital Library Space for Teens.” Teens, mentors, and librarians meet here to use modern digital equipment to play and learn. One librarian said, “It’s really a shift from thinking of a library as a repository to a community center, a place where things actually happen.” Which is exactly what we want our libraries to be!

Naturally the comments under the article were full of negativity. Wasted money and space, books no longer relevant, today’s teens not being challenged…blahblahblah. Nothing new. Same old sob story. Well you know what, whiners? Go tell all of that to the teens who use the space. Tell them they aren’t worth the time, money, or space. And you know what they’ll do? Shrug their shoulder because that is exactly what so many adults have been telling them for years. Luckily CPL and their funding agencies disagree with you crotchety old fools.

Uh-oh, creativity has struck. Everyone guard your glue-guns and tape dispensers

So I went home to my parents house Thursday because I miss my cats, my comfortable bed and well, I love my parents and really enjoy spending time with them. So while there, I dismantled a collage of pictures with the intent of replacing it with something more up-to-date. I also cut apart some old calendars and made them into bookmarks.

To make these I took a calendar page, cut it into halves, and taped the sides together. One calendar is titled Wanderlust and had 52 amazing pictures of travel-related pictures from around the world, such as Metro signs, pay phones, flight attendants pouring coffee, etc. Very cool stuff. (I gave one to my sister of a train ticket from Prague to Berlin. A trip she has actually taken before!)

So tonight I took another shadow box I had and added to it. The box contained all of the concert tickets I had acquired since my first concert (Weezer, September 28, 2001) to those around 2005. I have been to quite a few more since then, so I thought it was time to re-do it. The newest creation is this:

There are 25 ticket stubs, but there are many missing. Sadly they didn’t make it through the dust, dirt, sweat, rain, crowds, etc.

These are my favorite two tickets. My first concert (Weezer) and my favorite concert, Spice Girls, 2008.

And this is my Third Eye Blind collection because they have been my favorite band since circa 1997.

And my next project? Using decoupage to put all of my hockey ticket stubs onto a hockey stick.