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The Chance You Won't Return

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,009 ratings  ·  139 reviews
When your mom thinks she’s Amelia Earhart, navigating high school, first love, and family secrets is like flying solo without a map.

Driver’s ed and a first crush should be what Alex Winchester is stressed out about in high school—and she is. But what’s really on her mind is her mother. Why is she dressing in Dad’s baggy khaki pants with a silk scarf around her neck? What i
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Published April 22nd 2014 by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio
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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,009 ratings  ·  139 reviews

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Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some people think YA literature only involves vampires or crumbling future dystopias full of factions and battles to the death. Others dismiss it as being for kids. Most prevalent, perhaps, is the notion that fiction written about teenagers is juvenile; that the characters aren't fully formed yet, and neither are their emotions or experiences. But anyone who remembers that time in their lives knows it couldn't be further from the truth.

"You're just a virgin who can't drive." More than just a pu
Livia Blackburne
Annie is a fellow Fourteenery author and Boston gal, so I was really excited to read The Chance You Won’t Return, a contemporary YA in which Alex Winchester navigates driver's ed, first love, and general high school life while at the same time dealing with her mom’s mental illness (Mom thinks she's Amelia Earhart.) Alex is a real and sympathetic character. I found myself cringing along with her during driver's ed, and getting butterflies as she gets to know the cute guy Jim. My favorite part of ...more
Jessica L. Martens
This book is lovely and heartbreaking, with characters that feel incredibly layered and real. It is a take on mental illness that I've never seen before and it was handled with such specificity and care. ...more
When you look back at the memories of the hardest times of your childhood, you tend to be very careful, thinking through every angle of the incidents and accidents that ended up defining who you are. This novel does the same thing, crawling through one girl's anguish over her mother's mental illness, even as life accelerates along its inevitable course, barely braking for even the sharpest turns. Cardi takes a premise - a mom who thinks she's Amelia Earhart - that is, on its surface, extraordina ...more
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, e-book
A touching look at how an unusual mental illness affects one teenager's family. High schooler Alex's mom believes she is Amelia Earhart, and meanwhile Alex herself is too terrified to even drive a car. As Alex's mom spirals further into her delusion, Alex must babysit her kid brother and take over more work around the house, all while trying to pass driver's ed and maintain the illusion of normalcy at school. Alex's friendships suffer in a believable way as she hides the truth of her mother's co ...more
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If your mother had just one day merely thought that she was Amelia Earhart, what would you do? For Alex Winchester, it was beyond confusing and aggravating. It was undeniable that she was already unsteady with the pent-up emotions that she had dealing with, and not to mention a high school crush, but adding her mother commencing to turn crazy just took the cake.
A Chance You Won’t Return by Annie Cardi had a plot that had kept me hooked for days. I feel like Annie took many simple ideas and then
Stephanie Marie
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childhood
5 Reasons Why This Book Rocked:

1. Annie took some pretty stereotypical YA topics-- high school drama, relationships, kids vs parents-- and took them to an entirely new level by throwing some very serious issues into the mix. Every teen girl has ebbs and flows with their mother-- Are we friends? Can I tell her everything? I hate her!-- but a mom with mental health issues? That changes the game. Or does it?

2. I adored Alex and Jim. Can Jim be my boyfriend? I'd love to see a movie of this cute rel
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a powerful, beautiful book. This story follows sixteen-year-old Alexandra (Alex) over the course of the fall when her mother's mental illness manifests. Cardi does a masterful job of showing how this family crisis effects each of the kids (Alex & her two younger siblings), along with the father. It's heartbreaking, and poignant, and this book will be a life raft for someone going through a similar issue. Alongside the serious issue of mental health, is Alex's school life and her slow build ...more
Lori Goldstein
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had the pleasure of attending Annie Cardi's launch party and hearing her read from this book and describe her process for writing it. The story deals with a parent's mental illness from the perspective of her teenage daughter. The research the author talked of to ensure the book felt real and handled a difficult subject with grace and respect shows. I love the parallel storyline of the main character's own phobia that serves to contrast so beautifully with what her mother is going through. Sup ...more
Actual rating= 3.5

A sweet and heart-touching story. Worth a read.
Stephanie A.
I wanted a little more satisfying explanation and resolution to the mother's insistence that she was Amelia Earhart, but all things considered I really enjoyed all the random facts I learned about Earhart as a result, as well as seeing the family struggling to accommodate their delusional matriarch. I may have actually liked the rest of the family (especially the poor father) more than the main character, who was fine until she slept with her boyfriend for no apparent reason other than that his ...more
Ginger at GReadsBooks
This story begins by portraying a typical household in suburban America, as teenage Alex is trying to scamper out the door to school by avoiding the annoyance of her younger siblings, and the always charged air between her and her mother. The flow felt very natural, almost mirroring an image of what life was like during my youth. Signs of a well-written story emerged right away as I found myself being able to connect to Alex and the interactions with her family. Slowly we begin to see the signs ...more
The Chance You Won't Return flows like a real-life tale with realistic dialogue, a multi-faceted protagonist, and subtly descriptive writing that makes readers feel as if they are a part of the setting. Alex's story, from her driving struggles to her first romance, is tangibly relatable. And, despite its abnormalities, the family aspect is the most powerful and lifelike of all.

At first, Alex's dynamic with her parents and siblings appears to be the one kind I cannot stand—the inexplicably strain
Anna Matos
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Personal Response:
I thought this book was weird at first but then I started to like it because of Jim and Alex's’ relationship. With them in the book it made me actually want to read the whole book. Throughout the book I thought and still think Alex’s mother is crazy because she thinks she is Amelia Earhart. During the whole time I was reading the book I thought Alex's’ mom had alzheimer's but the whole time she had a delusional disorder.

Plot Summary:
The book starts out with Alex and her mom arg
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
Grade: C

High school junior Alex Winchester is failing Driver's Ed, but that's the least of her worries. At home, her mother thinks she's Amelia Earhart, dresses as the aviatrix, calls her husband George (Putnam, Earhart's husband) and is planning her next flight. Now Alex has more pressure at home than ever before, caring for her younger siblings, making sure her mother doesn't wander. With the Amelia delusion getting stronger, Alex worries if her mother will ever return.

I enjoyed Alex as a char
Sydney Bartel
“The Chance You Won’t Return” is a pretty good book. I thought it was good, but I also thought it could be strange at times. It seemed a little weird how Alex’s mother randomly thought she was Amelia Earhart. I thought it was a little creepy. The book, however, was still enjoyable to read. It kept my attention very well, and throughout the book I found myself wanting to read on to see if her mother recovered.

Alex was living a completely average life with her parents and little siblings until he
Ms. Humphrey
I wanted to like this story more, but I found myself annoyed by the way the main character kept bringing everything back to her mother's mental illness. I also thought that her mom's mental illness was pretty unbelievable and out-there. I just didn't buy that her mom would suddenly snap into such a perfect and all-consuming delusion.

Alex's insecurity also really bugged me. The fact that all the tension in the story centered around fears that her friends and a guy who clearly really likes her wil
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book may work for you. If the synopsis sounds like something you'd enjoy, go ahead and give it a chance. It just didn't work for me.

I feel like this book is just a missed opportunity. I thought it would be about dealing with a mom going through a mental illness - see the effects on the family, going through the system of support and counseling and how isolating it can all feel.

Instead, it felt like a story about Alex and her juggling first love, embarrassing highschool moments and coming of
Kelly Hager
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this story. I especially loved Alex. Alex is an incredibly realistic heroine. She is selfish and embarrassed about her mom's mental problems and close to her brother and sister but also resentful at having to spend so much time taking care of them. I love that she's a regular teenager and not a perfect person.

And I love that she tries so hard to spend time with her mom and even plays along with everything, as much as she can. She fails a lot, but she keeps trying. (And I love th
I think this book missed an opportunity.

The story and plots are great. Alex has a new boyfriend, she trying to get her driving license, and has a mom who had a mental breakdown.

The part where the author missed is her mom's breakdown. The mom thinks she is Amelia Earhart. Okay, great idea. New to me. But the execution lacked. This was a blown opportunity to do a little research and really come up with some interesting facts about Amelia that would add to the story about Alex.

Now realizing this i
Aug 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I so enjoyed Annie Cardi's "The Chance You Won't Return." Cardi writes Alex in a wholly believable way, and her relationship with her mom, and how Alex handles her mom's illness, is written delicately and authentically as well. Loved how the author didn't wrap it all neatly in the end. A well-written, engaging debut! ...more
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written debut novel with compelling and memorable characters. The novel tells a story of a family dealing with mental illness, a story as unique as Amelia Earhart herself. Never cliche, always lovely, and with moments of heartbreak and others of levity; an honest-to-goodness gem.
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alex just wanted her mother to remember who she was. But her mom had something happen to her and she doesn't know who she is, but thinks she is Amelia Earhart. So Alex has to try to get her mother to remember who she is. Then everything she doesn't expect happens to her. ...more
This story is fascinating and emotionally gripping. I love mother-daughter relationships in books, and this one just ripped my heart out.
Jen Petro-Roy
Apr 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, arc
4.5 stars. An utterly real protagonist and a gripping look at life with a family member with a mental illness.
Apr 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My friend's debut novel, and it is wonderful. It manages to be funny and heartbreaking at the same time, and I love Alex. ...more
Isabel Willems
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wisterious Woman
Emotionally powerful! It drew me right from the beginning. I laughed so hard I almost wet my pants! After awhile the humor was much more subtle but still there despite the challenging situation that darkened the story. Some of her comments slide between witty and snarky. I could really appreciate her attitude having had to deal with a delusional family member. Do you laugh or do you cry? Do you tell everyone what is going on or do you pretend there isn't a problem because you hope the person wil ...more
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story, The Chance You Won’t Return, by Annie Cardi, takes you through the journey of Alex Winchester as you she tries to balance her stressful life in high school and at home. One day, her mom ends up needing to go to the hospital, and they find out that she is diagnosed with a rare condition in which she thinks she is another person, and that person happens to be Amelia Earhart. Alex needs to balance this, plus the fact that she needs to take care of her younger siblings at home, with her l ...more
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I only put this book down when forced, whether by overwhelming sleepyness or an uber/lyft ping. Alex was such a fleshed-out character, and her experiences weren't trivialized. My only critique is that sometimes her voice got expository, especially at school, and when introducing names of the wider community beyond the main characters. Her mom's mental health was never mocked, but at the same time the author appreciated the humor that comes with Mom thinking she's a famous pilot. There were times ...more
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Annie Cardi is the author of The Chance You Won't Return, which was named a Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year for 2015. She holds a MFA in creative writing from Emerson College and a BA from the University of Virginia. In her free time, she enjoys running, baking, and spending too much time on Tumblr. Annie lives near Boston with her husband, child, dog, and a portrait of a se ...more

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