Day: September 26, 2014

Review: Nest by Esther Ehrlich

nest

Nest by Esther Ehrlich

11-year-old Chirp has grown up in the 1970s exploring the coasts and woods of Cape Cod and particularly watching the birds and learning all she can about them.  Her home life has been stable and warm, but now things are shifting.  Her dancer mother is no longer able to dance because of the pain in her leg.  She’s also having balance problems.  The family tries to continue as normal but when her mother is diagnosed with MS, it throws her mother’s mental state into chaos.  Unable to deal with the diagnosis, her mother falls into a deep depression.  Through it all, Chirp is slowly making friends with the boy who lives in her neighborhood, someone she had always feared in the past.  As their friendship grows, her family falls further and further into distress while Chirp fights to keep her own personal equilibrium.  Unable to cope any longer, Chirp and her new friend form a desperate plan.

Ehrlich captures a family both on the brink of crisis and then moving fully into complete dysfunction.  Through it all, the characters react as humans rather than stereotypes.  Readers will be caught up in the turbulence of these lives, the hope as things seem to improve, and the devastation as they continue to fail.  Ehrlich guides the story with a steady hand, allowing the characters to come to life on the page and react as honestly as they can.  She also makes sure that this is shown through Chirp’s point of view, something that both protects young readers but also allows the sudden changes to be even more powerful.

Chirp and her humor and unique point of view keep this book from sliding too far into tragedy.  She is inventive, creative and has her own passions for birds and nature that crop up throughout the book.  Joey, her new friend, has a complicated family life and also a spirit all his own.  He is a male character we rarely see in books, a boy who turns away from becoming a bully to become a friend, all on his own without adult intervention.  Her family is complexly drawn too, from the older sister who wants to escape to a different family to her father who is desperate to keep his family together and continues to be loving in the most difficult of times.

Written with a strong new voice, this debut novel is filled with rich characters who come together just to survive.  Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from copy received from Random House Children’s Books.

This Week’s Tweets, Pins & Tumbls

Here are the links I shared on my Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts this week that I think are cool:

Best Halloween Books for Toddlers (Board Book Editions) | The Jenny Evolution #kidlit

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

5 Lessons the American Girl Books Taught Us About Feminism| Bustle | http://buff.ly/XIwKjU #kidlit

6 banned children’s books that my children loved — NewsWorks http://buff.ly/YeLFTv #bannedbooks #kidlit

Author Interview: Carl Hiaasen on His Latest Skink Novel and Why He Won’t Do Vampires http://buff.ly/1suS6Q7 #kidlit

Hachette to create single children’s division | The Bookseller http://buff.ly/1n37HEH #publishers

I Will Always Buy Banned Books for My Kids| Devon Corneal | http://buff.ly/1viLFxu #bannedbooks #kidlit

It May Be ‘Perfectly Normal’, But It’s Also Frequently Banned : NPR http://buff.ly/1mC1qj5 #kidlit

‘It’s Perfectly Normal’ Turns 20 http://buff.ly/ZuT0iD #kidlit

‘The Pushcart War’ at 50 http://buff.ly/1Bd2QS2 #kidlit

Real Recipes from Roald Dahl’s Beloved Children’s Books | Brain Pickings http://buff.ly/1DzNqeC #kidlit

Surprise! It’s Racist! Unwanted Children’s Book Surprises. — @fuseeight A Fuse #8 Production http://buff.ly/1vjizy6 #kidlit

Banned Books Week

READING

Banning Bone: Inspiration and Book Banning Do Not Go Together – Reading Rainbow http://buff.ly/Y9u27v #bannedbooks #reading

Ebooks or Paper Books: Your Best Arguments http://buff.ly/1v0U0oF #ebooks

Read slowly to benefit your brain and cut stress – WSJ http://buff.ly/XM2Jj6 #reading

Where Books Are Banned, The Internet Can Be a Lifesaver | Electronic Frontier Foundation http://buff.ly/1Bd7I9J #bannedbooks #reading

"One must always be careful of BOOKS and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us." - Cassandra Clare - QUOTES / WORDS

TEEN READS

Book Review: ‘Afterworlds,’ By Scott Westerfeld | : NPR http://buff.ly/1n3szvj #yalit

The Bookseller launches YA Prize | The Bookseller http://buff.ly/1yt0z9j #yalit

The Compulsive Reader: Interview with Marie Lu About Her Newest Book, The Young Elites http://buff.ly/YZkaON #yalit

FilmNation Entertainment to Adapt ‘The Undertaking of Lily Chen’ Into a Chinese-Language Movie – GalleyCat http://buff.ly/1mmxtTR #yalit

Kinsella pens YA novel | The Bookseller http://buff.ly/1mvGUjK #yalit

More ‘Maze Runner’: James Dashner penning prequel for 2016 – LA Times http://buff.ly/1vjJtpw #yalit

Neil Gaiman: ‘Terry Pratchett isn’t jolly. He’s angry’ | Books | The Guardian http://buff.ly/1ysKOiy

Stacked: Guest Post: Fiona Woods on Female Sexuality in YA Fiction http://buff.ly/1n3rFyX #yalit

The teen in Ann M. Martin’s new book doesn’t baby-sit http://buff.ly/1mvyTLA #yalit

This Fall’s Most Anticipated Young Adult Novels http://buff.ly/1sTBrQA #yalit