A slight novel made more interesting by its setting, present-day Korea, and the touch of mystery thrown in. Twelve-year-old Isabelle ""Ibby"" Cornell is determined to be miserable when the family moves to Korea with her perfectly nice but resented new stepfather, an Army chaplain. She would rather write mental letters to her best friend back home, complaining of the heat and ""HIM,"" or fantasize richly about herself in many appealing guises. Soon, however, she deigns to make friends with other American children her age and grudgingly begins to participate--though she still snubs the tolerant chaplain and disgraces him further by feigning an interest in Buddhism. Ibby's keenness and imagination inadvertently help the police crack the local black market in hospital drugs. She simultaneously realizes that she feels secure enough to include her new friends in the glory and that life in Korea won't be so terrible after all. Thin but pleasant.