A supporting cast of wise, offbeat adults helps a child steer his way through an ugly divorce in this quirky, advice-heavy debut. Manhattan map in hand, Kyle, 9, sits next to his cabdriving uncle Hank on Sundays, pointing out fares, discussing routes, and chewing over whatever topics come to mind. One pick-up, Marcella, introduces Kyle to her fierce 7-year-old neighbor Ruby, and Hank to Lydia, Ruby's gentle, Moroccan-born mother. With his parents' relationship hitting the rocks (""hitting"" is the operative term), Kyle finds himself spending more and more time with this impromptu family. Whether helping Kyle choose a costume or easing him through the idea of her impending death, Marcella makes a perfect grandmother, and when she's not around, comfort and analysis are always available from either Uncle Hank or some amusingly flamboyant fare. The grown-ups are so vividly drawn that Kyle is pale and ordinary in comparison, and the plot takes a violent swerve at the end, planting Hank, Lydia, Ruby, and Kyle on a ship to Morocco, as Kyle's mother stays behind to care for their apartments. Readers will enjoy the characters, but the earnest lessons and sudden switches of mood make the novel a somewhat bumpy ride.