Tag Archives: high school

Staff Review: The Geography of You and Me

T9780316254779he Geography of You and Me

Jennifer E. Smith

Poppy

$18.00

Available now

Jennifer Smith, a newly rising YA author, understands how to create sweet and light romances that give you that warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with first love. When high school students Lucy and Owen get stuck in a New York City elevator, their initial conversation leads to a single night of roaming the streets of the city. By morning, the two teens go their separate ways. As Lucy hops all over Europe with her parents, and Owen travels throughout the United States with his father, they exchange a scattered emails and postcards that eventually result in meet-ups in San Francisco and New York City. Lucy and Owen’s heart-felt romance shows a unique experience of first love, long-distance relationships, and leaps of faith.

~ Laura

 

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Staff Review: The Scar Boys

9781606844397The Scar Boys

Len Vlahos

Egmont USA

$17.99

Available January 2014

In Len Vlahos’s novel, The Scar Boys, Harbinger “Harry” Jones describes himself as “socially lower than a pariah and only barely higher than a corpse.” As an 8-year old, he was disfigured in a horrific bullying incident and will live with the physical scars for the rest of his life. However, it’s the mental scars that have haunted him ever since.

Harry finds an outlet, and eventual salvation, through music. He and a friend — who is pretty much the definition of a “frenemy” — start a band called “The Scar Boys”, and spend a summer touring. Betrayals, shifting allegiances, friendship, financial difficulties, and a love triangle are all part of Harry’s journey, but the music is what rescues him, bringing eventual self-acceptance.

The music in The Scar Boys spoke to me, as it would to anyone who grew up during the 1980s, and I am always looking for books that speak to teenage boys, so I was happy to find this ARC at the NEIBA conference in Providence this year. While I think The Scar Boys is a really really good book, I don’t think it is a GREAT book. Wonder and The Burn Journals both do a better job at describing the pain-filled, lonely journey of an adolescent boy coming to terms with his life. I don’t know too many teenage boys who care one way or the other about the 1980s, and I think the musical references will be lost on them, unless they are hardcore music aficionados. Since music is so integral to this story, the type of music does matter. Nevertheless, the story of being different and feeling like an outcast is universal, and I will certainly add The Scar Boys to my list of YA recommendations.

~ Lysbeth

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