by Esther Ehrlich


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Nest by 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.
   Nest is Esther Ehrlich’s stunning debut novel. Her lyrical writing is honest, humorous, and deeply affecting. Chirp and Joey will steal your heart. Long after you finish Nest, the spirit of Chirp and her loving family will stay with you.

Praise for Nest:

"A poignant, insightful story of family crisis and the healing power of friendship."--Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"A stunning debut, with lyrical prose and superbly developed characters. . . . [Readers] will savor Nest and reflect on it long after its conclusion."--School Library Journal, Starred

"Ehrlich’s novel beautifully captures the fragile bond shared by Chirp and Joey and their growing trust for each other in a world filled with disappointments and misunderstandings."--Publishers Weekly, Starred 

"Chirp’s first-person voice is believable; her poignant earnestness is truly heartrending. Ehrlich writes beautifully, constructing scenes with grace and layers of telling detail and insight."--The Horn Book

What authors are saying about Nest:

Nest sings with heart and emotion. Simply gorgeous.”--Jennifer L. Holm, New York Times bestselling author of Turtle in Paradise

"Nest speaks to the heart. I wanted to put my arms around Chirp and never let go."--Holly Goldberg Sloan, author of Counting by 7s and I'll Be There

"I loved the book! It's so tender and touching and real. Chirp is a marvelous character, and Joey's just plain lovable. I worry about him. Congratulations. The book is absolutely splendid and I hope everyone in the world notices."--Karen Cushman, author of the Newbery Medal, The Midwife's Apprentice and the Newbery Honor, Catherine, Called Birdy

“A remarkable work. Esther Ehrlich’s characters stand out so real and true: Chirp’s friendship with Joey is tender and moving, and truly unforgettable. One can see Cape Cod and feel Chirp’s love for the birds wheeling overhead. I wanted this story to go on and on. What a brilliant future this author has. I can’t wait to read her next book.”--Patricia Reilly Giff, two-time Newbery Honor–winning author

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385386104
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 02/16/2016
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 553,310
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 10 Years

About the Author

Esther Ehrlich was born and raised in Boston and spent childhood summers on Cape Cod. She graduated from Vassar College. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family. Nest is her first novel.

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Nest 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
TheIndigoQuill More than 1 year ago
See full review @ The Indigo Quill . blogspot . com Special thanks to NetGalley and Wendy Lamb Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I'm sensing that we have another runner up for that Newbery next year. I'm expecting to at least see this title on the list. Esther Ehrlich has introduced herself in a novel that will take the reader on a thoughtful and resilient journey of life, death, and friendship. This book is not for the faint of heart.  As the reader experiences the world through our protagonist, Chirp, they will see the world in a coming-of-age transition. The story is set in Cape Cod, a location very familiar to the author. Naomi, or Chirp, is a young girl with a mother who is a dancer, a father whose job and hobby is to psychoanalyze the people around him, and her sister, Rachel, who is blossoming into her own as well. Down the street lives Chirp's classmate Joey and his troublesome brothers that add plenty of their own flavor to the story. One thing I'd like to note is that Ehrlich made Chirp and her family Jewish. I'm currently doing an assignment for school about finding solutions to cultural gaps within our curriculum of approaching Children's Literature in Elementary Schools and Public Library programs. I know this is a reflection of the author's personal life, but there is evidence that Children read more if they feel like they can relate to the characters. Nest is a book that kids with a Jewish background can connect to, and non-Jewish kids can be exposed to some of the plights they have. I think it's wonderful to have a contemporary book for this age group taking on this task, and raising interest in good literature. The cover illustrations are soft and esthetically pleasing. I love the detail and the title immediately grabs your attention with the intricacies representative of a bird's nest.  Readers will enjoy the charm and depth of story between the pages of Nest. I fell in love with the characters, and I was laughing and crying right along with them. This is definitely one of my favorite middle-grade books I've read this year!
book4children More than 1 year ago
There is so much to love about this book. Naomi (Chirp) is a quiet, thoughtful girl that likes bird watching and loves her family. She is kind of a loner, and feels pretty awkward around other people most of the time. She makes an unlikely friend in her neighbor, Joey, and that friendship helps her through the hard times that her family faces. He helps her deal with all the mixed emotions she has and also helps her feel connected to someone when the rest of her life falls apart. Their friendship was my favorite part of the book. I liked Chirp's strength and the way she tried so hard to keep her family happy even when it seemed impossible. I liked her imagination and her interest in birds. Even though some parts of the book were too slow for me, it was a heartfelt story with a believable and lovable protagonist. Content: Some talk about sex and a couple mild curse words. Source: I received a digital galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nest was a sad emotional story that made me feel depressed and alone. I did not find a moral that could be of any example to me but I undestand why some others who reviewed this book enjoyed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great book that stole my heart. Very emotinal useing "her" thoughts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A beautifully written book with an overall good sense of humor that could very easily and most likely will remind a reader of their own childhood and/or beginning adolescence. This book also shines another much needed light on very serious topics.
Jasmyn9 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book read it but the middle of it really good drama romance comedy the best love it
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
I thought Nest was a pretty good read. Especially for younger readers. They were lots of laugh out loud moments. My favorites was during the Halloween scenes. Cracked me up. There were other moments of drama that made want to cry times too. I just loved the character of Chirp. She was fun and thought of her as if I had know her. Great story. 5 stars.
quibecca More than 1 year ago
4.5 STARS ACTUALLY! SUCH A GREAT BOOK! This is just such a sweet story.  I found myself connected to Chirp right away.  I know she was only in sixth grade, but as a mother I connected. Chirp's mom is her hero.  She loves her with every once of her being.  The connection between Chirp and her mom is palpable.  It was amazing.  The writing is just so beautiful.  I was right there with Chirp through the whole book.   Chirp's family, her sister Rachel, her mother Hannah, and father Dr. Orenstein are very close.  When Chirp's mother is diagnosed with MS the dynamic of the family changes dramatically. Hannah has a very hard time with her diagnosis, and gets every depressed.  She only sleeps, and barley eats.  She was a vibrant woman, a dancer, and Chirp's hero.  Chirp all of the sudden finds herself  trying be the adult and lift the spirits of her mother. The book just gets so sad.  I cannot image how hard it was on Rachel and Chirp to see their mother going through such a hard time.  One day they come home and their mother is no longer at home.  Their father had put her in a mental health institution. Depression is such a real thing.  This book touches on some hard topics, especially for a little girl to go through.  Chirp always seems so strong. Joey is Chirps neighbor and she isn't too sure about him, but they develop a sweet friendship.  Well one that is a love hate relationship, and actually kind of funny.  I love that Joey watches out for Chirp.  He is a punk kid, but is the best friend he knows how to be for a sixth grader. When something very traumatic happens in Chirps family she decides to run away, and Joey goes with her.  Joey's life isn't rainbows and butterflies either.  His father is a horrible person.  He isn't discussed as a specific character, but as a background, and he is mean, and horrible.  My heart aches for Joey. There are so many situations in this book, that I was over powered sometimes with emotion about what these kids have to go through.  The situations were so grown up, but so important for children to recognize.   Chirp is my favorite character by far.  She is sweet, determined, loving, and just an all around good girl.  My heart aches for her.  I just wanted to crawl into my book and put my arms around her and tell her it would be okay.  Silly I know it's just a book.  That is how amazing the writing is in this book.  I really felt like I was right there the whole time.   Such a sweet story, of family and the trials they go through.  A story of heartache and how to recover from it.  Such beautiful writing. Source:  Thank you to Penguin Random House Publishing & Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.  I was given this book in return for an honest review.  I was not compensated in anyway for this review.  These are my own PERSONAL thoughts on the book.
macjam47 More than 1 year ago
Naomi Orenstein (known as Chirp because she loves watching birds and can tell you just about anything about them) and Joey Morell live across the street from each other.  Joey has two older brothers who have bad reputations, and Naomi is afraid of them and a bit afraid of Joey, even though they are in the same grade. They are as different as night and day, or so they think. But as the story unfolds, they have a lot in common.   They are very bright students, and they both live under difficult circumstances.   This is a story of tragedy, hardship, love, and friendship.  It is about a camaraderie born of trust and a need to connect with someone who understands.  The plot and characters are both well crafted. The characters are true to life. Chirp and Joey could easily be the kids down the street.   When I first started reading Nest, I wasn’t sure it was going to be a book I would enjoy. As I got to know Chirp, I found I wanted to know more about her, why she and Joey seemed to have a connection, and how Chirp, with Joey’s friendship, learned to come to terms with the way life had changed for all in the Orenstein household. It was a book I couldn’t put down. Nest is for ages 8-12, but I would recommend it to anyone age 8 - adult. It deals with some tough subjects such as illness, death, and abuse, and the unlikely bond of friendship that was formed by two children living under different circumstances. It is a heartwarming and unforgettable story. I was given this ARC by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
belle7171 More than 1 year ago
Nest is set in the 1970’s, where Chirp and her family live a quiet existence in Cape Cod. The family is devastated by Chirp’s mother’s diagnosis and later a family tragedy. The book is beautifully written, highly descriptive, and the storytelling is heartwarming and sensitive. I loved the character of Chirp and her relationships with her older teenage sister (who is also dealing with the family crisis in her own way), and the troubled neighbor boy Joey. The tenuous friendship with him is very believable. Chirp is the same age as my daughter, and it feels like that girls these days mature faster. Chirp is still innocent (as children were in the 70’s) and where she may have the starting of romantic feeling towards boys, for the most part, they still remained unapproachable, or at most friends. Again, having a daughter the same age as Chirp, and also the target age for this book, I’m not sure middle schoolers would find this book as interesting and heartfelt as I did. However, my view is only influenced by what my own daughter reads. Bridge Over Terabithia is another book that I would believe would have the same audience. I have faith that Nest will have a strong reception and become just as well known. An advance reading copy was generously provided by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
reececo331 More than 1 year ago
This is an interesting tale of life, love and loss.The book contains many interesting facts about birds, and the eastern sea board. Its mainly about a young girl learns that her mother is diagnosed with MS. This diagnosis leads to her mothers mental break down, and eventual death. The book is from the child's point of view about MS, mental illness, a mothers love, and her eventual loss. It is a great tragedy but also a reminder of the simple things in life.  I would recommend this book to young children having to face any or all off these situations, including those children who have difficult relationships with their parents or class mates.
Crytal More than 1 year ago
I was given a copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley, in return for an honest review. "Nest" is a coming of age story about a girl nicknamed Chirp. She has an affinity for all things birds.  I find it hard to write reviews for books like this. It is a sad story of what this girl has to go through during her teenage years. The writing was good for the most part. Very descriptive. What I didn't like was how fast time jumped around, and with no notice to the reader, you just had to read a few sentences and figure out that we are now 3 months in the future. The most interesting part of the story for me, was Chirp and Joey's relationship. Unfortunately, he greatest problem that I had with Nest, is that we never really got to see how it develops. Or what is really going on with Joey. Of course, we can all make assumptions, and pretty much figure it out, but some actual details would have been nice. And what happens to them in the future. The last few chapters, we see them go on an adventure. This was my happy spot. I almost wish that this was the whole story, and that there could have been more detail to that part. As it was, the trip to Boston felt rushed to me. I know that the trip to Boston would not have happened were it not for the entire first 2/3 of the book, but I still could have done without all that. My overall feeling is this: The book is not bad, especially for a debut. I don't think it will be for everyone, because it is not all light and fluffy, and I don't know that I'd call it a middle grade book. Maybe upper middle grade? There were parts that I really liked, but not enough of them to make me really like the book. Overall, just ok for me.
ccwriterunlimited More than 1 year ago
Latches Onto The Heart And Won't Let Go!! It’s 1972 in Cape Cod and Chirp just turned eleven. She has no worries as summer is carefree. With bird-watching in the woods, throwing rocks with Joey, dancing in the rain with her sister Rachel and her mother-childhood where each new day is full of fun and adventures. But all is about to change as Rachel turns thirteen and turns teenager and her mother, who is a dancer, becomes sick. But Chirp believes nothing will change -her mother will get better and she will dance again. After her parents tell the girls the diagnosis is MS- Chirp believes if she just feels the soft warmth of her mother’s hand she knows everything will be alright. As she slowly touches her mother’s hand instead of the soft warmth she expects, her mother’s hand is cold and clammy and Chirp knows now that everything has changed…. Ehrlich writes a poignant, sweet, loving tale of carefree days of childhood and of growing up. I loved the friendship between Chirp and Joey. Joey is the abused boy who lives across the street and as problems seem to surround their lives it turns out the two need each other. Ehrlich’s debut novel is so movingly beautiful but sad as proof that childhood is not always easy. I was carried away to childhood once again- living it through the eyes of Chirp and Joey. Wanting to take their pain away and give them that carefree childhood once again. I love the escape that Chirp creates in like a bird she makes a nest in her room that I am sure all can relate to as even adults want to escape from the problems of the world. Written for ten and up I highly recommend for preteen, teen and adult as this one is so special there is something here for everyone. Believe me this one creeps into your thoughts and into your heart and won’t let go long after the story ends.
MI_Reader More than 1 year ago
What an amazing book! The more I read middle grade, the more I realize that I love realistic fiction, whether it be contemporary or historical, that has an MC and his/her family dealing with situations that could occur to anyone. In the case of NEST, Chirp is a fun, dancing, smiling girl who loves bird-watching and living along the ocean. But as Chirp’s mom’s medical condition deteriorates, she experiences emotions and situations that would be hard for any 11-year-old to deal with. At this point, she begins her friendship with Joey, the boy who lives across the street. Seeing the bond grow between these two, neither of whom has an ideal family life, was enjoyable and heart-wrenching at the same time. Yes, I will agree that this book contains some heavy topics, but nothing that middle graders shouldn’t be able to handle and process. As a debut book, I’m very impressed and hope that Chirp and Joey’s story might continue in a second book. I received an arc of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for my honest opinion. All thoughts are my own.
KWSkultetyLVT More than 1 year ago
I received this advance reader’s copy from Net galley in exchange for this honest review. Touching. Poignant. Real. Funny. Heartbreaking. There are not enough superlatives to describe this treasure of a first novel by Esther Ehrlich, written for young readers. Don’t let the designation fool you. This story will resonate with everyone–those who have a family, those who have felt alone, those who have tried to be a “good girl”, those who have been 11 years old and forced to sit in a sweltering classroom while their heart is breaking. Naomi “Chirp” Orenstein lives in Cape Cod, circa 1972,  with her parents and older sister. She got her nickname from her love of birdwatching; I love how the author sprinkled avian facts throughout the book. Chirp’s world is turned upside down one summer when her mother is diagnosed with MS, and the dynamics of the house abruptly change. Her dad is less than comforting; Dr Orenstein, the psychiatrist, would rather open a dialogue about feelings and why they are there rather than just give Chirp a hug. Her sister Rachel is becoming distant as she is discovering boys and spending more time with her friends, instead of playing “baby” games with Chirp. And next door neighbor Joey comes from a family that finds it easier to be demeaning than understanding. As Chirp’s mom encounters more difficulties (I can’t write any more details without avoiding spoilers) the 11 year old turns inward, sneaking away to watch her beloved birds and ponder life. Ehrlich’s prose is right on the money, capturing perfectly the emotions and fears of a girl poised on the far edge of adulthood. At times Chirp is wise beyond her years, other times she just wants her mom. The relationships between all the characters is believable and true to life, even down to the authentic banter between Joey and Chirp. One day Chirp gets sent to the principal’s office for opening a classroom window.  Her classmates show their support on the bus ride home in a fabulous little scene that is written perfectly. Told from Chirp’s perspective: When I sit in the bus seat next to Dawn, she says, “Want me to open the window?”, and then she pinches the locks and pushes the window down. She turns around and says to Sally, really excited, “Open your window for Chirp. Pass it on.” Sally passes it on to Tommy, who passes it on to Sean, et cetera, et cetera, and soon the whole bus is filled with the eeeeee of everyone shoving down their windows. Mr Bob, the bus driver, doesn’t say anything;  he never does. He just reaches for his blue wool cap on the dashboard and puts it on while the wind whips everyone’s hair around.  “Heck no, we won’t go! Heck, no, we won’t go! Yay, Chirp!” Joey yells from the back of the bus.  I know I’m in big trouble, because I got sent to the principal’s office, but I feel happy with everyone’s windows open for me.  About 70% into the book, there is a twist that is exquisitely painful and delicate, and Ehrlich makes her writing sing like pure birdsong. There was not a page that went by that was out of place or awkward, from the first to the last. I dare anyone to read this book and not feel as if they are alongside young Chirp as she navigates through her life. What a rare book Nest is. Read it, and come up with some superlatives of your own to describe it. It goes on sale September 9th, 2014. Buy your copy here.   
JeyCeeSz More than 1 year ago
Amazingly written, Ms. Ehrlich’s debut novel will steal your heart and fly it away; she captures the essence of eleven year-old Chirp and dives into a heartfelt and poignant story where family and friendship, trust, love, and the overcoming of the impossibly difficult, play front stage. Set in 1972, Nest follows Naomi “Chirp” Orenstein, a bird-watching kid whose life changes in an instant when her mom is diagnosed with a serious disease. Chirp finds a friend in Joey, who lives across the street from the house where she lives with her psychiatrist father, her dancer mother and her sister, Rachel. Joey and Chirp build a friendship and when the world comes crumbling down they form the perfect plan: escape and live an adventure. Full of cultural references, the story portrays the 70’s with fantastic precision and paints Cape Cod in a widely natural way; but what makes Nest stand out and makes it an amazing book for a wide age range of readers is the authenticity and emotional voice of Chirp. She is complicated but has the simplicity of childhood, she wears her heart on her sleeve, and she is observant and curious and yet has the absolute naiveté of an eleven year old whose life has been good. Chirp’s view of her family and of Joey is fantastic, honest and real; getting to know her is an amazing journey. The relationships flow outlandishly, changing their dynamic as the situation changes around the people involved. There are so many amazing bonds forged in the story that it would be a shame to spoil them, but rest assured that Joey and Chirp’s friendship will steal your heart. Bottom line, nest is a superb book, with amazing writing and characters that will touch your soul deeply.