by Esther Ehrlich
published by Wendy Lamb Books
For fans of Jennifer Holm (Penny from Heaven, Turtle in Paradise), a heartfelt and unforgettable middle-grade novel about an irresistible girl and her family, tragic change, and the healing power of love and friendship. In 1972 home is a cozy nest on Cape Cod for eleven-year-old Naomi “Chirp” Orenstein, her older sister, Rachel; her psychiatrist father; and her dancer mother. But then Chirp’s mom develops symptoms of a serious disease, and everything changes.
Chirp finds comfort in watching her beloved wild birds. She also finds a true friend in Joey, the mysterious boy who lives across the street. Together they create their own private world and come up with the perfect plan: Escape. Adventure. Discovery.
Nest is Esther Ehrlich’s stunning debut novel. Her lyrical writing is honest, humorous, and deeply affecting. Chirp and Joey will steal your heart. Long after you finish Nest, the spirit of Chirp and her loving family will stay with you.
My Two CentsThis book was one that was really hard for me to get into. I eventually grew to love the main character, 11 year old Chirp, but it took a while. When I finally finished, I did like the book. It had some good stuff in there, as far as story goes. The writing itself is great. And I particularly liked the fun music references!
This is one of those middle grade novels that always gives me a bit of a pause, though. It has some "grown-up" topics in it that you really need to be ready to discuss with your kiddo. *SPOILER ALERT* Chirps mother commits suicide after battling with a chronic illness. I think you have to know the kid whose hands this book goes into to determine if that's the sort of thing that they can handle. To Ehrlich's credit, there is absolutely no glorification of suicide, in fact, you see Chirp and her family try to make sense of the tragic event. So parents and teachers, just know that suicide is a prevalent theme in this book and be aware of the sensibilities of the kids who read it.