Eight Nights of Flirting

Razorbill. Oct. 2022. 400p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780593349755.
Gr 7 Up–In this lush and cozy holiday romance, Reynolds (The Summer of Lost Letters) brings readers to Nantucket and the raucous and loving Barnabel family. Shira Barnabel is looking forward to spending Hanukkah with her extended family in her grandparent’s sprawling Nantucket home, but then a snowstorm leaves her whole family stranded on the mainland. Instead of a house full of cousins, Shira finds herself lighting the first candle with sworn enemy Tyler Nelson, the boy responsible for her first and only broken heart. Shira decides to turn the situation to her advantage and talks the charming Tyler into giving her lessons in flirting, in the hopes of attracting a new intern in her family business. Reynolds takes readers through the paces of Hanukkah, Christmas, and general winter traditions of a wealthy Nantucket social circle—all perfect set pieces for Tyler to administer lessons in seduction. A mystery involving Shira’s family and an old Nantucket whaling ship brings the two into each other’s orbit more and more often, and the line between flirting lessons and actual flirting becomes blurred. Reynolds’s narration is smart, warm, and full of plenty of well-earned swoony moments. The evolution of Shira and Tyler’s relationship, as well as a subplot about Shira’s grandparents, thoughtfully explore the ways hurt feelings can affect perceptions of and openness to love and affection over time. A companion to the author’s debut novel, this can be read as a stand-alone.
VERDICT Absolutely delightful.

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