It is 1972. Eleven-year-old Chirp has a pretty terrific life, except for being the only Jewish person in her class. That’s awkward. The new boy across the street, Joey, seems a little odd, but maybe they can be friends. Still, she lives on Cape Cod with her older sister, Rachel, her psychiatrist dad, and her stay-at-home mom, a dancer. When Mom is diagnosed with MS, she spirals into a deep depression, landing in a mental hospital for months. Dad leaves the girls on their own a lot. Chirp feels deserted and Rachel tries to take on the role of mother. When Mom comes home, it is not what Chirp has hoped for, and things get worse than she can imagine.
Esther Ehrlich has written a powerful debut novel with great characters and a terrific coming-of-age story. The setting of Cape Cod is so perfect, creating beauty and mystery. The accepted ideas of the 1970s, particularly those regarding mental illness and child abuse, will be eye-opening for young readers, as they create credible conflict through the story. The writing is beautiful. Though marketed as a middle-grade book, Nest will transcend that group and find fans among teens and adults.
|Wendy Lamb Books
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