cover image Fly Back, Agnes

Fly Back, Agnes

Elizabeth Atkinson. Carolrhoda, $17.99 (296p) ISBN 978-1-5415-7820-3

In a story about deep change, 12-year-old Agnes Moon, who inherited her part-Korean father’s skin tone and her red-headed mother’s freckles, has lately felt out of control. She’s dealing with microaggressions and her best friend’s betrayal at school, her parents’ divorce and older sister’s estrangement at home, and her developing preteen body. When her mother announces that they are moving from Vermont to Kansas for the summer, despite Agnes’s having already made plans, she tells a lie to spend the break with her father in the Vermont house that he’s watching for a friend. But her dad’s responsibilities leave him often busy, giving her ample time alone. Free to pass herself off as anyone she chooses, Agnes invents a new persona: Chloe, an actor and dancer from Topeka. As she makes friends and absorbs their confidences, as with intersex Fin, who is frequently gossiped about, her initially freeing lies leave Agnes feeling more alone than ever. Atkinson (The Sugar Mountain Snow Ball) focuses on Agnes’s turbulent inner life, but the other characters are more thinly drawn, limiting the novel’s emotional depth. Ages 9–10. [em](Mar.) [/em]