This title was provided by NetGalley, Random House Children's in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the contents of my review. This post contains affiliate links that may provide the post author with monetary compensation.
Nestby Esther Ehrlich
Publication: Random House Children's, Wendy Lamb Books on September 9th 2014
Genres: Children's Fiction, Historical Fiction, Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction
Source: NetGalley, Random House Children's
Better World Books • Goodreads
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.
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s been a long time since I’ve felt compelled to pick up a Middle Grade title that wasn’t strictly science fiction or fantasy, but there was something about Nest that I couldn’t just walk away from. It’s not often that you find truly emotional children’s books that deal with Real Life Situations, and I was curious to see how the author pulled it off.
Right off the bat, I fell for Chirp. She’s an incredibly likable character, and I enjoyed the relationship she had with her sister and her mother. She was charming, interesting, and easy to love. The entire cast of characters was well-written; I felt like they were very well-represented for their ages, the era, and the situations they were going through.
This book hit me hard when it was revealed that Chirp’s mother may have Multiple Sclerosis, because it was suspected that my own mom might have had MS. I may have gone through it later in life than Chirp (View Spoiler »and I may not have had to deal with the aftermath of a suicide « Hide Spoiler), but I still deeply related to her character and the feelings she faced–especially “the moment” where you know that everything has changed.
Ehrlich’s writing style is poetic and beautiful. I laughed along with Chirp and Joey when they were cracking jokes, and I cried for Chirp and her family during the Thanksgiving incident and View Spoiler »when Chirp’s mother died « Hide Spoiler.
These characters and their stories are still lingering in my head. Nest was tragic and beautiful, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a book that paints an accurate representation of the poignancy of depression and having an ill parent–or anyone looking for a book that makes you feel something.