Fifteen-year-old Chap Smith has an unusual life. He lives with his father and his sister, Lori, in a big house in the Indiana woods. Lori is like a mother for him, watching out for him and keeping him safe. Chap likes to read and write; he enjoys the quiet of the woods where he has lived since his birth. And he doesn't mind sharing household chores with Lori-they're a great team. When Lori's job requires her to move to Virginia, however, Chap's quiet, predictable life suddenly changes. For the first time, he is alone with his remote, detached father, a retired military man who spends most of his time in his den, writing a book about war. When his father's unusual behavior becomes difficult to understand, Chap believes his father is playing games with him, as he had when he was a child-challenging him with problems to solve. During the months that follow, Chap must deal with his father's unexplained behavior, his own loneliness, and a conflict at school with his best friend. In the midst of this chaos, he meets a new girl who has beautiful deep-sea, blue-green eyes, a scarred face, and an unusual story of her own.