What I’m Reading Wednesday: NEST by Esther Ehrlich


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.

So I need to start off by apologizing for my LONG absence. I was pregnant and then had a baby. Enough said, right? Seriously though, I am coming out of the newborn fog and have A TON of books that I have been reading and can’t wait to share my thoughts about.

My first book out of the gate is NEST by Esther Ehrlich. I love heartwarming middle grade. I love debut authors who stun me. I love characters like Chirp. I just loved NEST.

So, I know it’s easy to read a book and think, wow, that author nailed it. The voice was authentic, the actions were believable, the emotions were deeply felt…and this is all true about NEST, but it was more than that for me.

As a child of a mother who was very active and then was gradually weakened by illness, I felt like some scenes, some sentences, some thoughts could’ve been straight out of my childhood. I even saw some of myself in Chirp as she was so spunky and until the day she died that was my mom’s word for me. But, isn’t that a sign of a good author? To write with honesty even if you haven’t been there. To write your world so well so that those who have been there will recognize it?

And Joey- can we just awww about him for a moment? So loveable and tragic, but innocent and too wise for his age. Such a perfect companion for Chirp as she navigates her trials. Such a wonderful world of adventure they create.

Ehrlich writes in perfect pace for her story…fluttering of baby wings, the crash of first flights, the attempts to handle growing up, the soaring of wings….the nest of everything that matters.

How do you tell a story of different family dynamics, of heart-breaking/warming relationships, of branching out into who you’re meant to be, of acceptance and of true friendship? Ehrlich shows us how in NEST.

Beautiful words, beautiful story, beautiful feelings that will stay with me for years.

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