Tuesday, March 17, 2015

REVIEW: Nest by Esther Ehrlich~ BEA 2014

Nest by Esther Ehrlich
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Source: ARC received from Publisher at Book Expo America 2014
Guest Reviewer: Doris aka La Chiquita
Buy it at: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

*This book was received from the publisher, but it did not influence this review in any way *

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

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.

Being 26 years old, and reading a story about a 13/14 year old you might say i was setting myself up for a few "i-remember-when" moments. This book did not let me down there. I was very nostalgic reading the antics that our protagonist Naomi "Chirp" Orenstien gets put through. One of my favorites was set during a thunderstorm; Chirp and her older sister, Rachel, danced outside with their mother watching from the front porch. Usually their mother would be out there with them, but because of a soar leg her mother decided it would be best to sit this one out. They wiggled and swayed and brought the performance to an end with a grand can-can routine. When i was about ten or tweleve I too went outside to danced in the rain. Mind you i didnt have a porch, but a stoop nor a yard but a field of cracked concrete. The feeling was still the same though. We were lost in our movements, in feeling the cold water running down our skin and the warmth in the laughter our mother released as we did a twirl just for her.
Unfortunately for our little Chirp those days were few and far between once her mother became sick. This book goes from "i-remember-when" moments to "i-cant-believe-that-just-happened" moments within pages of each other. Don't read this book if you can't handle sad endings. The family dynamic of the Orenstien household goes as follows. Rachel is the daddy's girl and Chirp the mother's side kick. When their mother was at full health she lived with a light so bright that it attracted loyalty from everyone she encountered. She is loved by her husband, looked up to by her daughter and worshiped by her Chirp. As the story goes on, you see the light go out and the strains of these relationships tested. So much so that when they snap the sound of the whip reaches out of the pages and makes you hurt with them. I wanted this book to be a buddy-buddy journey with Joey and Chirp finding birds and discovering themselves together. Something with a background music of flutes and harps not something with violins and clarinets.
I think Joey was meant to be an outlet for Chirp, something to distract her from what was happening in her own home but it sucked that Chirp wasn't more of an outlet for Joey. At the end of the book all we got from Joey was that he was a germ-a-phobe who had two mean brothers and a meaner dad with an itch to hit. We don't get to hope for a happy future for him, or that he may get out. I really wanted Joey to get some justice for what he was experiencing. In the end Chirp is reminded that she is not the only one hurting and through this it re-builds her world enough for her to return to it. What about Joey? Nothing changes. I couldn't help feeling that these were building blocks for a good house down the street murder mystery where Joey is the murder with a messed past that could have been changed if one little girl cared just a little bit more.
Nest will make you relive little moments from your youth, going to school, taking the bus, playing games that your siblings made up with you to kill time while the adults did what they needed to. It will also make you sad. The story makes you want to reach out to your parent and tell them you still love them. If you lost a parent and read this it will take you back to them for a moment. I gave it 3 out of 5 because I really wanted a friendly feel good book. Though this book gave me glances into the happiness they had, the meat and feels of it was the relationship of Chirp to her mother. 

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