Fourteen-year-old Charlotte starts over with her mother in a new town in Washington’s Cascade Mountains—the same town where her estranged father, Larry, lives. While Charlotte attempts to train for the national snowboarding championships, she also has to navigate the complicated relationships around her, from her parents, to her new friends, to her mother’s boyfriend, Steve.
After her father’s fateful decision to take environmental action, Charlotte must move from Timberbowl, her local ski area, to the dangerous backcountry in order to snowboard. Her father’s decision resulted in the loss of not only his job but also Charlotte’s spot on the snowboarding team, and her welcome at Timberbowl. Going rogue to practice on her own, Charlotte soon is part of a terrible accident and must come to terms with a tragedy she never expected in a place that she never thought she’d call home.
Charlotte’s father, Larry, has a scar that he calls the “luckiest scar on earth” because he could have just as easily been killed, and because the accident led him to meeting Charlotte’s mom—and by extension, having Charlotte. The Luckiest Scar on Earth centers around both physical pain and emotional pain, and how those experiences can be channeled into strengthening our bonds with the people around us.
Charlotte is a surly and often angst-ridden narrator, rebellious against her father and slow to warm up—and warm up to. But her slowly building reconciliation with her father is understated and poignant, and, as Charlotte realizes, Larry knows how to bring out the best in his gruff and strong-willed daughter.
The Luckiest Scar on Earth is a thoughtful novel that centers around the maturation of both a girl and her family, and which intimates that sometimes the most difficult periods can also be the most beautiful.
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