From School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—It's the dog days of the summer, 1972, and spirited 11-year-old Naomi "Chirp" Orenstein tries to enjoy them as best she can—but something is wrong with her mother's leg. Chirp's mother Hannah is a dancer and the prospect of permanent limited mobility is both heartbreaking and terrifying. A diagnosis of MS sends Hannah spiraling into a debilitating depression, and she is sent to a mental hospital. Chirp's father, a psychiatrist, is consumed with grief and tethered to work, leaving Chirp and her older sister Rachel alone much of the time. After several months of therapy, Hannah returns home. The reunion is short-lived as she slips deeper into depression and tragically decides to end her life, leaving Chirp, Rachel, and their father to navigate their transformed familial relationship. A stunning debut, with lyrical prose and superbly developed characters, this novel is an emotional roller coaster that effectively conveys a family's visceral tragedy. At times tear inducing, the narrative is also vibrantly alive, assisted in part by the Cape Cod setting and refreshingly unplugged 1970s. The focus on nature and the outdoors helps set the pace as the seasonal changes quietly indicate the passage of time. Sensitive readers should be aware of the tough issues that it addresses—suicide, depression, and personal loss. However, the story also offers a hopeful message. Strong readers who enjoy realistic fiction and the occasional good cry will savor Nest and reflect on it long after its conclusion.—Juliet Morefield, Multnomah County Library, OR
Kirkus starred review, May 15, 2014:
“A poignant, insightful story of family crisis and the healing power of friendship.”School Library Journal starred review, May 15, 2014:
A stunning debut, with lyrical prose and superbly developed characters, this novel is an emotional roller coaster that effectively conveys a family’s visceral tragedy.Publishers Weekly starred review, July 14, 2014:
"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."