I love being surprised by a book. When I read the premise of Kate Klise's In the Bag, I thought it would probably be trite and maybe silly: " A European vacation. A luggage mix-up. A note from a secret admirer." But Kate Klise's debut adult novel (she writes children's mystery books) is anything but trite and silly. I loved it.
Single dad Andrew and his son Webb and single mom Daisy and her daughter Coco are all traveling to Europe, and the teenagers get their bags mixed up. That's the part that sounds silly, right? But oh-my-goodness. Klise has
an incredible knack for dialog, whether it's the characters speaking or
The teens find contact info in the bags and begin emailing each other in
an attempt to exchange bags. (One is in Madrid, the other in Paris.) They hit it off immediately via email.What they don't know is that Andrew, Webb's dad, spied the pretty Daisy on the airplane and, in an out-of-character gesture, dropped a flirty note in her bag. Back in her hotel room, when she finds the note, she is appalled and shoots off an angry email to him.
Predictably, the teens find a way to meet, and ultimately their parents meets, and they all end up together. I am sure I'm not spoiling anything by revealing this. But what happens in the middle is so worth reading. How does written communication (email) stack up to meeting in real life? I find this especially interesting because I am so much better at communicating in writing that in speaking in person.
Klise knows teens. She knows how they think and talk and panic. But she also knows adults, and she has created four incredibly real characters in this novel. The novel alternates among the viewpoints of the two teens and their parents, so we get a tour inside all of their heads. There are all kinds of missed cues and misunderstandings that are so familiar in that we've all been there (even if not in Paris or Madrid), and Klise does it all so well.
What a fun novel—well written, witty, and insightful. No, it's not Pulitzer Prize winning, but who cares. Get it, read it, and pass it on!
*FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, in hopes I would review it.