The Scarred Pepper Tree

by L.N. Gruer


The Scarred Pepper tree and 10-year-old Dolores live in an old musty house at the edge of an ancient Canyon, Lolo’s Grandfather calls “ a mini–United Nations.

The Canyon life is full of contradictions and dangers, as it has only two seasons: one with the wind-fueled firestorms and the other with torrential rains and deadly mud flows. When the tree was small, one such storm almost ended her life. Thanks to the kindness of the Lady who worked in the house and her brother, the famous tree doctor, the tree was saved. Unfortunately, it was scarred for life, making it far from perfect, despite its many good qualities. The new owners of the house, Lolo’s grandparents fight about removing the “ugly and useless” tree, distressing Scar’s loyal hummingbird friends Hattie and Henry Lee, who couldn’t imagine their lives without her.

Like the hummingbird pair, Lolo appreciates and worries about Scar, for she too is far from perfect. Left in a foreign orphanage as a baby, Lolo is forever reminded how fortunate she was to be found by her dad. Unfortunately, she is abandoned once again, when her father leaves her to be raised by her old-fashioned, quarreling grandparents, who don’t even own a computer! Lolo doesn’t fit in with “normal” kids. She is half-foreign, not at all pretty, too big, too awkward, and has an unmentionable problem. Lolo misses her dad terribly, but all she truly dreams of is finding her real mom. Maybe she would want her and never leave her behind? Maybe she could explain why Lolo is confused about her memories?

Thanks to her vivid imagination, Lolo’s companions are garden creatures, birds, insects, and plants. In fact, her only human friend is not easy to handle. Ashok Malik, an undisputed genius next door, is spoiled and sickly, and doesn’t appreciate his family. All he cares about is gaming! When Ashok’s favorite pastime is threatened, he hatches a runaway plot, making Lolo feel she must support it, that is if she is to stay his friend. Unfortunately, the ill-fated plot leads to an unexpected, life-threatening event. All the garden’s residents will have to put their differences aside and pull together, or risk losing both Scar and Lolo forever.

The Author:

Born and raised in the Ukraine, L.N. Gruer is an Internationally recognized Naturopathic physician, creativity coach, and social media personality. A prize-winning poet, historian, and a Pro-Am ballroom dancer, she holds a Master's degree from UCLA, along with a PhD in Holistic Nutrition. Her debut historical fiction The Blue Tatar and a cozy mystery Revenge of Alpha Centauri were Amazon best sellers. The Scarred Pepper Tree is the first installment of a new pre-teen magic realism fiction. When not at her desk, she can be found at her piano, gardening, or playing baseball with her two grandchildren. Dr. Gruer lives with her husband and Pasha, an adorable Maltese, in California and Texas.


ISBN: 978-1-957013-64-0
Publication date: August 6th, 2023
Page count: 184
List price: $15.95
Formats available: paperback and eBook

The Scarred Pepper Tree by L.N Gruer is amazingly fun and learning experience not just for kids but for adults alike. The story progresses with the heartwarming friendship of Dolores and the pepper tree. It is a story of growing together facing the dangers of unknown ahead yet beautifully bearing the scars of the past. I thoroughly enjoyed the story as an adult too, it represents various emotions and hardships one goes through. A great learning experience regarding nature and animals. The author's writing style is unique and brilliantly creative with illustrations that make it attractive and engaging for kids. A fun way to understand important topics. I highly recommend this.

Phil Bolos

Fun and learning!

The Scarred Pepper Tree by L. N. Gruer is a very imaginative tale about a girl, Dolores, living in a canyon. It is a relatively solitary life since there is only one other person her age nearby and all he cares about is playing video games. So, she has created a variety of make-believe friends to keep her company. She builds this world around a pepper tree in her yard that was damaged in the past. Some people, like her grandparents, want to get rid of the tree, but Dolores knows that this tree provides a life for many of the animals and imaginary friends she has. She will need to be clever if she is going to protect this retreat for both her friends and herself. This is a great chapter book for young readers who care about animals and nature. It is also a great book to use as a nightly read for parents and grandparents.

Phil Bolos

Very imaginative tale

"The Scarred Pepper Tree" by L.N. Gruer is a poignant and beautifully woven tale that explores the complexities of life, friendship, and resilience through the eyes of 10-year-old Dolores, known as Lolo. The story showcases the enduring bond between Lolo and the scarred pepper tree, Scar.
The author included themes of imperfection and acceptance, both in the characters and the natural world they inhabit. Lolo's uniqueness makes her relatable and endearing. The cast of garden creatures, birds, and insects that populate Lolo's world adds a whimsical touch to the narrative. This is a story that I would totally recommend reading, kids will enjoy it greatly.

Mia C.

A must read for kids

The book 'The Scarred Pepper Tree' is a compelling narrative centering on a unique tree and a young girl keen on its preservation.

The protagonist, Dolores, resides in a canyon with minimal human contact. She conjures an imaginative world around a damaged pepper tree, attributing it the role of a protector for her imagined friends and creatures.

Despite her grandparents' wish to remove the tree, Dolores comprehends its significance to her and her imaginary companions. The narrative is detailed, weaving in elements of magic that amplify the storyline. The tree is characterized with a personality of its own, infusing the narrative with a sense of mystery.

The book is suitable for young readers with an affinity for nature and animals. It is a recommended read.

Ghulam Mustafa

A Tale of Nature and Magic

This very well written book for children and teenagers tells a moving story. L. N. Gruer's "The Scarred Pepper Tree" has as protagonists two characters as different as a girl and a tree can be. However, their shared sorrows and vulnerability cause Lolo to find refuge and empathy in the unfortunate but amazing Pepper Tree. Through the narration of this beautiful story, the author delves into themes such as imperfection, friendship, abandonment and resilience. These two characters, Scar and Lolo, who suffer threats, abandonment, and discrimination because of their appearances, find comfort in their shared lives and its similarities. A threat on the life of his closest friend puts Lolo into action and makes the story even more captivating. The story is set in a natural world full of creatures that play a fundamental role in the story of this little girl and that give a touch of magic to the tale. I strongly recommend it.

Celeste S

Inspiring book

This is a heartwarming tale that takes readers on a journey into the enchanting world of young Dolores.
The story revolves around the enduring friendship between Dolores and the scarred pepper tree, a symbol of resilience and imperfection in a world full of contradictions and dangers. The author skillfully portrays the challenges faced by both Dolores and the tree, each bearing scars from their past.
The narrative is richly layered with themes of belonging, friendship, and the power of imagination. All in all, it’s a great book for all generations. Sure, it’s aimed mainly at teens or slightly younger readers, but the originality and the writing style can appeal to anyone. Great book!


A great book for all generations

This is a story of a 10-year-old girl named Dolores who has a special connection with a secreted tree. Follow along as Dolores works through several challenges in her life, meeting and keeping friends while she goes through a dangerous journey. The book is an easy read for big kids and a great challenge for 3rd grade children. The author made sure that whoever reads the book will be able to paint a full picture of the scenes and events in the book. It's a great read that teaches kids kindness, friendship, resilience and other complexities of life, but to words and concepts they can understand. A great book to read with children.


Tons of lessons to learn for young readers.

This is such a beautiful story that will help children empathize with others that may not have both parents in their lives/feel seen if they are struggling with the absence of a parent(s).

The book is easy to understand for children as young as 5 or 6 if a grown-up is reading the story to them. However, for independent readers, I'd say the reading level is for a 9 to 10-year-old. It is well written so children won't grow bored with what is happening in the story.

One of my favorite things about this book is the illustrations that help children feel closer to the main character and the world she lives in.

Chelsey McQuitty

Beautiful story

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