While trying to grapple with her parents' weaknesses, 14-year-old Ingrid (Inky) learns to conquer her own fears. When Inky discovers that her handsome, hearty father is involved in a series of affairs whenever he's away from home (he's a pilot), it throws her for a loop. Schoolwork suffers as she tries to repair relationships, urging her agoraphobic mother to make herself more attractive, eventually confronting her with evidence of her father's misdemeanors, only to find that Mother already knows and has made her own accommodation: men have different needs, after all, and he's a good provider. Meanwhile, Inky has made friends with a mother and son, Gus, who have a business giving balloon rides. At first lying about her own family out of her grief at their situation, she later realizes, when she hears about Gus' family problems (his dead father was an abusive alcoholic), that any relationship must be based on truth and that while she cannot change her parents, she can change herself. Levitin writes well. Her characters are complex mixtures of faults, talents, foibles and virtues, their revelations staged with a care that raises this above the run-of-the-mill coming-of-age novel.