cover image The Chance You Won't Return

The Chance You Won't Return

Annie Cardi. Candlewick, $16.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6292-9

In Cardi's candid and multilayered debut, high school junior Alex Winchester already has a full plate when her mother begins to believe she is Amelia Earhart, writing letters to an imaginary family, studying maps, and building makeshift aeronautical devices for her "around-the-world tour." Overwhelmed by the transformation, which appears to have been sparked by the death of Alex's baby sister, Alex's father mismanages the situation and makes Alex responsible for sheltering her two younger siblings. With her own anxiety mounting, Alex begins to play into her mother's fantasy world, recognizing the immense hold that it has taken on her mother and believing that it may be the only means through which to reach her. Alex's crush on a senior provides some brightness, but it's eclipsed by her fear that he'll discover the truth about her home life. Alex's voice is caustic, honest, and studded with humor. Cardi weaves elegant metaphors and incisive dialogue throughout her chapters, concluding with a wrenching sentiment about the necessity of sometimes allowing a lost loved one to find her own way home. Ages 12%E2%80%93up. Agent: Taylor Martindale, Full Circle Literary. (Apr.)