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review 2014-11-13 01:45
Nest by Ester Ehrlich
Nest - Esther Ehrlich

Nest was a fantastic and emotional story. Chirp is a special girl that has a unique bond with her mother. When her mother gets sick her life is turned upside down. As she comes to term with the facts of her new life she discovers many things about herself and her family. I'm not talking about deep dark family secrets - just a new understanding of life.

The life Chirp leads is deceptively simple at times as she enjoys the nature around her small town. I loved the scenery and how vividly it all came to life.

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review 2014-11-10 23:41
Nest - Esther Ehrlich

I have this dilemma when I am reading middle grade books, when I come across an especially sad one like this. I am torn, because on the one hand, I remember how, when I was deep into those middle grades, I could not get enough of these emotionally wrought books, going through long phases of believing sincerely that a book was not good unless I was weeping at the end. Of course, these were the kinds of books I had to finish in the safety of my room, neatly hidden under the covers with a flashlight. I had to smother those cries so my nosy younger sister on the other side of the room would not catch me, and call me out on the blubbering baby that I was. But I loved this kind of book, I admit, and I sought them out on every trip to the library.


So now here I am, all grown up (and then some), and I worry that my daughters will take this story too hard, will take it to heart, will wonder about me when they see what can happen to a seemingly ordinary Mom in a short span of time. Should I worry about them reading this book? Usually, when I worry about things like that, it just seems to float right over their heads, and they continue on as before, without a care in the world. They are somehow able to maintain their own reality, and understand that all of this is just fiction after all. Then, I convince myself that they are grounded, and not heartless. But I have witnessed them crying over a book (ok, it was a cat they were crying for, but still, they got it), and it makes me realize I cannot shelter them completely from the world. So, you see, it is a no-win situation for me. I am left — after reading this beautiful, moving, heart-wrenching book — weeping, and overwhelmingly sad. It is not a book with the ending neatly tied up in a precious bow, and I admire that. But I was hoping for just a tiny bow at least. It took me a week to even think about writing a review after I read this, I felt like I needed a little recovery time in order to be more objective.


So no, this is not a book I would cheerily recommend. It is, as the reviews have said, a stunning debut. It will wound you, this book, it will bear down on you, and make you weak. But you will be thankful every day for what a blessed life you so ungratefully live each and every day. Or maybe that’s just me.

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review 2014-11-01 00:00
Nest - Esther Ehrlich It's been a while since I read something at a middle school level and sometimes I chose to do so to see how todays' authors are portraying difficult subject matters. This one reminds of some of the authors that I grew up reading. Like Beverly Clearly in the mid to late 70's.

I found that the main character, nicknamed; "Chirp" to be someone I could relate to in her interactions during a difficult time in the family. The author shows us the struggles "Chirp's" mother, a former dancer; now faces with her battle with MS. It shows us how she slides in to deep clinical depression so deep that she .... well ... she decides the struggle is too much for her to bear.

Even though this is a tough subject, the author opens up our eyes to the plight of dealing with this devastating journey each family member takes through out the book. We also see Chirp struggle her feelings about the things like peer pressure, friendships and a possible first "crush". There are hints of darkness when we read about Joey her neighbour that Chirp doesn't understand but she and Joey did find a small place in my heart as I read more about them.

These are normal every day things that one would possibly deal with in a typical middle-schoolers life out side of the home. Ms. Esther has done a great job bringing us this rich but serious issue on a level that most middle-schooler could understand. Her language level is on their level but it didn't make it feel like she "dummied" down the language to make a point it was unappealing to an adult reader. I even got my 12 year son to read part of the book while he was here for the summer. Let me tell ya - that it wasn't a small feat all in it's self. He said it made him think. And Ms. Esther that is high praise indeed!! I give this a 4.5 stars out of 5 and a boy who wants to finish the book come this summer.

Thank You Bethany house a chance to review this e-book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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review 2014-09-07 18:39
Nest by Esther Ehrlich
Nest - Esther Ehrlich

Title: Nest

Author: Esther Ehrlich

Genre: Children’s Fiction – Middle Grade

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books/Wendy Lamb Books

Publication Date: September 9, 2014

Format: egalley via Netgalley




My rating: 5 of 5 stars


My review (published at Read, Run, Ramble):


Thank you Wendy Lamb Books via Netgalley for providing me with an early copy of this book!


Nest, the debut novel by Esther Ehrlich, is a moving, sweet, and pivotal book. Written for middle-grade children, Nest, explores family dynamics – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Ehrlich writes her two main characters, Chirp and Joey, with brilliant authenticity. Chirp is a bird-loving 11-year-old and Joey is her rough and tough classmate who also happens to live right across the street from her. The two are headed toward a journey that neither expects, but one that will bring out their fears in full, living color.


Chirp loves birds; they are her hobby. But above interest in and knowledge of birds, birds are her coping mechanism. She finds solace in identifying with the different species she’s come to know about. She finds strength in sharing her knowledge with others. She finds comfort in some of her own nests.


Joey copes differently. Joey presents as the no-good, tough guy (much like his brothers), but he’s seen throughout the novel always caring for Chirp in his own way. His battles manifest themselves in an overreaching obsession with germs and the harm they can do. Joey struggles as much as he supports in this novel and he and Chirp become, without really thinking about it, each other’s shelter.


Ehrlich writes beautifully, both for adults and children, in a perfect balance between simplicity and richness. Readers of all ages and interests will find it an easy, thoughtful, and interesting read. For the middle-grade readers, it is a great show that we all have our battles, both large and small. Those battles can bring us together or tear us apart, and that is mostly thanks to how we choose to look at a situation or a person. Ehrlich shows her middle-grade readers that things aren’t always what they seem on the outside. To adult readers, Ehrlich illustrates the intensity with which children process things early in life, whether the events are good or bad. Through Chirp and Joey, readers will see that memories or perceptions and reality can be quite different through their eyes.


Friendship and family are explored in depth – how much they mean, how much they can change a person, how much they can hurt, and how much they can heal.


There is a happy balance of life sucks and we can get through this within the book. Ehrlich never insinuates that tragedy is easily overcome, for adults or children, but also shows the redeeming power of love, friendship, and selfless support.


I’m going to get a copy of this book for my 11-year-old daughter and I hope (and suspect) that she’ll love it as much as I did. I also plan to buy a copy for her teacher/classroom (last year’s choice was The One and Only Ivan and I feel as strongly about this book as I did about that one). It was that good and meaningful to me!


I was provided with an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not compensated for any of my reviews.


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review 2014-09-07 04:49
Nest - 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.







I received an advanced reading copy of NEST from Net Galley for review. It is set to be released on September 9th, 2014.



Nest is a Vietnam era story following a glimpse into the life of 11 year old avid bird watcher Naomi "Chirp" Orenstein. Chirp seems to have a good, solid childhood going, navigating through life with a vivacious dancer mother, a more straitlaced psychiatrist father, and of course the everyday mild tiffs with her older sister, Rachel. Then the news comes that the problem her mother has been having with one of her legs may actually be the beginnings of multiple sclerosis. With that one diagnosis, Chirp's life is changed forever. Chirp's mother develops such severe depression that she is put into a mental institution for a time, loaded up on meds to the point where she can hardly recognize her family when they visit. Chirp also finds herself struggling with her father's emotional absence, school bullying because she's Jewish, her sister spending less and less time with her, leaving Chirp feeling a little lost and lonely in her little world. She finds a small blessing in the friendship of boy-next-door, Joey (who also comes to her defense when his brothers join in in the bullying of Chirp) -- to one brother saying, "Shut up about stuff you don't understand." Everyone needs a least one good friend like that. :-) But even there, something happens that puts a rift between this budding friendship.


I liked this book overall, but it was SOO sad! I enjoyed the writing for the most part, though the timeline of the story seems to jump around a lot before settling into a comfortable chronological path.The grim tone seemed relentless, which makes me wonder about the suggested age of reader for this book -- ages 8 to 12. To me anyway, the topics in this novel seem pretty heavy for that age group. There's topics of depression / depression being treated with electroconvulsive (electroshock) therapy, terminal illness, suicide, a description that sounded like marijuana use to me -- though not actually stated as such, stress-related OCD behaviors. There's mild cursing and the use of the term "lezzies". I just wonder how many parents are going to want to have discussions about these things with their young readers.



I think the relationship I liked best was that between sisters Chirp & Rachel. It seemed the most real. It had it's difficulties and tensions, but also had very sweet moments. I was reminded of the sister relationship in the novel Tell The Wolves I'm Home.  The relationship between Chirp and her mother, especially as the mother's illness progresses, also becomes really touching, though tinged with moments of such sadness.


"When you were born, I swore that you'd have an easier path than me. My mother caused me so much pain, and sometimes I still feel like it's swallowing me up. I swore that, for you, it would be different. And now... " Mom takes a breath.  " And now..." She slowly pushes each word out like it's stuck in her mouth. "You--have---a---sick---mother."She folds me back into her arms. My cheek's against her stomach. She's moaning now, a sweet, quiet sound like a mourning dove. I hold Mom tighter. I coooo my own soft bird sound. What else does Mom want me to do?



The novel as a whole has its entertaining moments, but I did find my interest waning a number of times, the pace being a little slow and misery-heavy throughout. 




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