This review is part of a MotherTalk blog tour, and I received the book from the publisher to review.
I had a list of books to review this summer, and also a list of books I was looking forward to – several of my favorite authors had new releases this summer. Often the books to review become books I look forward to – the description grabs me hard enough that I can’t wait to read it. Sometimes the book itself lives up to that expectation, and sometimes it doesn’t. Flirting in Cars by Alisa Kwitney far exceeded that expectation, and left me grateful for a rainy, relaxing day where I could just sit and read without having to put the book down for very long.
Alisa Kwitney creates wonderful characters – a single mother named Zoë who is estranged from her Orthodox Jewish family, her fourth grade daughter named Maya, and love interest named Mack. These characters, as well as the secondary characters, jump off the page – reading Flirting in Cars feels almost like you are sitting down with Zoë, chatting about her life. Zoë and Maya leave New York City for a year to move to a very small town 2 hours away so that Maya can attend a school specializing in helping children with Dyslexia learn and feel self-confident.
I’m the mother of a child with learning disabilities (including trouble with reading), who is about to go into the fourth grade. Flirting in Cars gives one of the most accurate depictions of a child of this age – the mix between longing to be independent (Maya loves the long school days and time spent working with horses) and the need for closeness (after the move, Maya is afraid, and wants to cuddle in her mom’s bed). It’s a really difficult age to portray, and I think Alisa Kwitney deserves a special accolade for Maya’s character.
After Zoë and Maya move to the small town, Zoë’s fear of driving becomes a real problem. New York City’s excellent public transportation and taxis let her live easily without driving. However, in a small town she needs a driver to get groceries, to meet Maya for lunch, and for all her other errands. Luckily, she’s a freelance writer, so she can work from home on her laptop, but she ends up needing a driver a lot. Mack starts as her driver – he also works as a driving instructor (who wants to teach Zoë to conquer her fears and learn to drive), and several other jobs, like most folks in the small town.
When Zoë starts investigating some land deals within the town, and the possibility of corruption and ecological damage, she starts to really become invested in the town. The tugs within her between small town and big city pull hard within her. The added dilemma of her relationship with Mack (fling or serious? is the age and class difference important?) also wrenches inside Zoë. Flirting in Cars lets us into the lives of these characters as we devour the book, unable to put it down until we find out what will happen next.
I loved Flirting in Cars, and while I really want Alisa Kwitney to write a sequel, I will also keep an eye out for her next book. I’m loaning my copy of Flirting in Cars to a friend this afternoon, and highly recommend you go buy a copy or request it from your library – it’s a great summer read that you will enjoy – I doubt you’ll be able to put it down easily!