The following review was written for the book Nest, by Esther Ehrlich. Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of the book.
Nest, as Esther Ehrlich’s debut novel, is a masterpiece of emotions. It’s written for middle graders, but I really enjoyed this book just as much. What makes Nest stand out so much is really it’s simplicity, conveying at the same time a deep message that most children’s books tend to avoid. It talks about life and death and the reader is forced to face it brutally.
Ehrlich has a talent for writing believable characters that you come to love. There’s a perfect balance of “immature little kid” and “intelligent bird lover” in Chirp. Joey is the “annoying boy next door” but also has his own problems and fears that make you pity and care for him. You have Miss Gallagher, who you like and you hate, who can be nice, but is also just as much of a jerk. There’s Rachel, who had teenager problems to deal with along with their mother’s sickness.
The plot of the book is simple. Chirp’s mother get’s diagnosed with MS and Chirp must find a way to cope with this. But Ehrlich executes it in such a wonderful way that it never gets boring or cliche. Everything was unpredictable in the best way. Everything in this book feel original.
I loved how Ehrlich makes references to From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Annabel Lee, both which connect the reader to the book.
The prose in this book is beautiful. Smooth flow, beautiful descriptions but still altogether simple. I loved it wholly and definitely will be looking forward to more of Ehrlich’s books.