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.
I well and truly jinxed myself with this book. A few days ago, the lovely Michelle at fluttering butterflies and I were having a conversation about books that make us cry.
I, of course, own a swinging brick instead of heart said that I can’t remember the last book that made me cry. Well, now I can, and it’s called Nest.
Simply put: I adored this book. I loved the story. I loved the way it was written. I loved the setting. I loved the characters. I loved the message. I loved the subject. I loveloveloved the cover and the whole production of the book.
I will always love middle grade books and some of my favourite books that I’ve reviewed on my site have been aimed at younger readers. While I was reading this book I was, once again, reminded that middle grades wipe the floor with young adult books when it comes to dealing with “difficult” issues. This book really reminded me of The 10pm Question by Kate De Goldi which is one of the highest praises I can give to a book.
On the cover of this book there’s a quote from New York Times that describes it as “authentic” and I think I’m going to nab that word because this book is authentic. It’s real and it’s messy and it made me sad for a good two hours after I finished the book. Even though it was a happy ending. It was a happy ending in extremely sad circumstances.
I loved Chirp and I was destined to be her best friend from page one. She was funny and crazy and passionate and I loved her to bits and pieces. I don’t think I will ever not love a main character who choreographs her own dance routines. I also loved Chirp’s family, especially her dad. But, I have to say: Joey. Oh Joey. What a beautiful character and a gorgeous friendship about two kids who have to grow up quickly.
Anyway, I’m afraid I’m going to go off into a tear-soaked spoiler-ridden rant that could only end with me eating an entire packet of Bourbons (…again) so I’ll wrap this up.
This book hit a bit of a nerve with me for reasons I won’t go into in this review which might explain why I felt such an affinity for it. I would have loved a book like this when I was younger and books like this are sososo important for children to read. They’re the books that hold your hand when life is horrible and while I’m not saying they will make everything better, they’re a way to tell you that you aren’t the only person going through these things.
OH and this book has the best soundtrack in all the land.
Now I’m plotzing for Ehrlich’s new book.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers.