A reader’s dream


Jenna French

MHS Book Club talks to author Len Vlahos.

Getting a chance to talk to the author of a book you just read, is a dream for any reader. Having the opportunity to ask questions about the characters, the ending of the book or compliment the author on his work, seems almost unrealistic. Yet, this dream came true for Ms. Shelly Leuthold and Medina High School’s Book Club when they got the opportunity to talk to Len Vlahos, the author of the club’s most recent read, “Scar Boys.”

On Monday, March 19, the Book Club which mostly consists of Leuthold’s Contemporary Literature class gathered in the Media Center during 9/10 period to discuss the book with each other and write down questions they had for Vlahos. When the 11th period bell rang, the class started to set up for the scheduled video call.

“I think it’s absolutely phenomenal to be able to talk to the author and figure out things that are open ended and that you are not really sure about,” stated junior Emma Davis who attended the event.. “I just think it’s a wonderful opportunity.”

While several of the students enjoyed reading “Scar Boys,” a number of them thought the lack of a plot twist was something that brought the grade of the book down.

“It was written like a college essay, so it had a detachment from the narrative, in my opinion,” stated junior Payton Nielsen. “This caused a lack of complex characters, a lack of a really strong plot line and a moving plot line.”

In “Scar Boys,” the reader follows the main character Harbinger (Harry) Jones as he tells you the story of his childhood and teenage years. When applying for college, Harry goes way over the 250-word limit and writes down his entire life story up to that point. The book begins with the story of how he was struck by lighting as a 8-year-old and how he suffered from bullying most of his life, until he met his best friend, Johnny.

“It [the book] addresses how the bullying made Harry feel and it’s him going from there and dealing with his life,” Davis stated. “I really liked how it developed the characters. Obviously it wasn’t a crazy sky rocketed development because it’s just a contemporary, but I liked how it showed his relationship with Johnny and how that friendship might not have been the healthiest, but at the end of the day it was still necessary.”

The book later details the band that Harry creates with Johnny and how his love for music transported him out of his horrible life with bullies. Vlahos was a member of a punk pop band called the Woofing Cookies during the 1980s which is where the musical backdrop for “Scar Boys” comes from. The book was published in the beginning of 2014 and marked the beginning of Vlahos career as a writer. In 2015 he published the book “Scar Girl,” the sequel to the first book.

Leuthold contacted Vlahos through email and he offered to meet with the class through video call on Google Hangout. The event was organized as a “school field trip” and Leuthold had decided that two class periods was enough time to both discuss the book and talk to Vlahos.

The students and teachers who attended the event got the opportunity to discuss the book with each other, as well as with the author. The book talk really was a reader’s dream come true.