Posted in 2014-2015 Club, Mock Newbery Picks

Nest, by Esther Ehrlich

NestSummary:  On Cape Cod in 1972, eleven-year-old Naomi, known as Chirp for her love of birds, gets help from neighbor Joey as she struggles to cope with her mother’s multiple sclerosis and its effect on her father and sister.

Wendy Lamb Books



6 thoughts on “Nest, by Esther Ehrlich

  1. Nest was a really heartfelt story that dealt with some pretty heavy topics, but because of the main character and her innocent voice, the book never became overly depressing. The author starts off by showing a few chapters of how perfect Chirp’s family is and how much the youngest of the two sisters, Chirp, loves and depends on the mother. I became really connected to their beautiful and sweet family life and so when the mother is taken away, first to the hospital then to the asylum for depression, I feel the pain the main character and her family feels as if I experienced it too. The rest of the book focuses on how their family copes with missing an important part of their life, every member dealing with the loss in a different way. Rachel trying to become like the mother, Chirp making friends with the neighbor Joey, and the father trying to puzzle things out with his psychologist talk. Nest is the best book I’ve read dealing with the topic of the loss of a family member, because of the strength of every single Newbery criteria. The partly stereotypical them of love, life, and loss as well as the importance of friends and family was recreated in a unique and beautiful way by the writing style, characters, and setting. The best of these I have to say is the writing style. The way the author made the reader feel emotions through actions and symbols rather than words or dialogue created much greater depth in the writing and in the characters. I liked how Rachel and Chirp balanced each other out so that if you were looking for a positive perspective you could always trust Chirp to find something good or when Chirp could not, you could trust Rachel to play the organized and caring older sister. I have read two similar books to this one so far this year to compare it with, Nightingale’s Nest and the Secret Hum of the Daisy, both of which are far surpassed by this book in the most Newbery worthy. Each of these books struggled with balancing out the pain with the hope and I feel that Nest did the best job of it. The one flaw in this book though, was perhaps the ending. I didn’t feel as if everything had been perfectly resolved. This had to do with Joey though, who is a more minor character so I do not think it matters as much, but I think the ending would have been better if his problems had been resolved as well, rather than forgotten about. Overall, Nest was a well written book about both the pain caused by friends and family, and the hope created by the same friends and family as well. If you are looking for a book that can be humorous and heartbreaking, painful and sweet, and appropriate for any age fourth grade and up, then Nest is the perfect read.

  2. Nest was a really amazing book, seeming much better than the other books i have read, even if it became rather dark in parts. The storyline was wonderful, making you want to keep reading like I did, the characters were perfectly developed, so you always understood what they went through and could relate to them, especially Chirp; and the setting was really well described throughout most of the book, but there were some clips where I would say, “….The author could have made this more detailed….”. And there were plenty of other parts where I was just like, “Wow!!”.

    This book has been the best of all the books I have read so far, such as Bird and Secret Hum of the Daisy. I originally thought Bird was my top pick, but it’s nothing compared to Nest.

    This book is definitely my top pick, and a Newbery.

  3. For a couple weeks now I’ve been wrestling with this book. I had originally picked Bird for my Mock Newbery winner, but then I read Nest. At first glance, it seems to be a typical story about a nature-loving girl living in a beautiful place with the perfect family: her psychologist father, her dancer mother, and her caring older sister, Rachel. The main character, Chirp, feels as if everything will always go perfectly. But then her mother develops multiple sclerosis, which means she can’t dance anymore, and she becomes extremely depressed. Eventually, Chirp’s mother is put into an asylum because of her depression. Chirp and Rachel deal with this in completely different ways: Rachel becomes extremely moody and at the same time is trying to become the mother of the family, which Chirp doesn’t appreciate because she firmly believes that her mother will come home in a couple weeks and be perfectly fine. Of course, it isn’t as simple as that, as Chirp finds out.
    I really enjoyed the setting of this book. Cape Cod, where Chirp lives, was so well described that at times I felt as if I was actually there. Some places could have been better described, but the areas that were described were so well depicted that it made up for the other parts.
    The characters were, in my opinion, even better than the setting. Chirp is so innocent at the beginning, but she loses at least some of that innocence by the end. Her way of dealing with her mother’s depression is completely in character for her. She doesn’t fully understand the seriousness of the condition, and so she thinks that when she and her father and sister go to visit her mother and bring their mother her favorite food, she’ll immediately get better. When that doesn’t happen, Chirp is really sad and she doesn’t understand why her mother isn’t better yet. That moment really touched me.
    I agree with Krista that Chirp’s neighbor and friend Joey has problems that could have been resolved a bit better. However, that didn’t affect the book so much that it was no longer distinguished.
    Overall, this book dealt with loss and love in a great way, even better than Bird did. So, Nest is my new Mock Newbery pick.

  4. Nest is an extremely thoughtful and powerful book. It follows the seemingly picturesque life of eleven year old Chirp whose naivety translates into her interesting narration of a sad book.
    For the majority of the story, each tragic occurrence in her mother’s life has a snowball effect on young Chirp. For example, when her mom is diagnosed with MS, she begins to adopt and imaginary friend, and it is in this subtle way that you are able to see how much Chirp loves her mother and her family. This was common throughout the book: being able to determine things about Chirp’s thoughts and feelings without them being stated.
    I thought that the greatest thing about this book was the flow of the writing after her Mom died(I know this sounds insensitive, hear me out). The paragraphs describing the news and her mom’s funeral were broken up by snippets of Chirps thoughts as she struggled to accept the passing of someone who had been there for her her whole life. I thought that this was a brilliant way of showing the confusion and sorrow that follow the passing of someone close.
    Although the setting was not as well described as my other favorite, Bird, I thought that the setting represented how the characters felt. Like when Chirp and her best friend are mad and emotionally crushed from the ongoing tragedy of her mother, they go to an abandoned greenhouse and throw rocks through the windows. The noise made by the crashes represented the “white noise” that surrounded Chirp after her mother’s death, and the shattered glass symbolized her broken hearts.
    Although it is a sad story dealing with some heart-wrenching subjects, the light- heartedness of a eleven year old girl in love with the magic of birds and dance balanced and accented the story nicely. This is my favorite this year.

  5. Nest is the best book I’ve read this year. In the beginning you see Chirp’s life, and then you start seeing the problem of her mother who goes through a nerve problem in her leg to depression. This book always leaves you reading trying to figure out what happens next. Even in the beginning you’re interested, and even though this story deals with some tragic events you never feel too depressed. I felt Chirp’s emotions throughout the entire story. My favorite part of this book were the characters. There was Chirp, the curious girl who loves birdwatching and dancing, and Rachel the kind sister. Then there was Joey, the mysterious boy who lives next door and becomes a wonderful friend. I also love the places in the story like the glasshouse where you feel heartbreak or Chirp’s birdwatching place which serves as her getaway. I would suggest this book for any age. This book is a WINNER!

  6. This book is in my top 5 for our Mock Newbery. The character descriptions were so realistic you felt as though you could see the characters. It’s not at the top, however, because the development of the characters in Nest is not as deep as it is in Bird. In Bird I felt as though I was inside the character’s minds. I enjoyed the setting of Nest because it was simple yet effective to convey the feeling of a small town life. I agree with others that the way Joey’s character could have been better resolved… Overall this a great book and I recommend it to ages 12 and up because of the depression issues.

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