Friday, October 10, 2014

Nest by Esther Ehrlich

Nest by Esther Ehrlich is juvenile fiction set in the early 1970s.

Naomi, or Chirp, as she prefers to be called, lives a happy, secure life with her close-knit family on Cape Cod. During Chirp's eleventh year, however, her life changes in many ways. When her mother is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and then sinks into a deep depression for which she is hospitalized for many months, Chirp, her father, and her older sister are left to struggle along together, each taking on roles unfamiliar to them. In this uncertain time, Chirp forms a tentative friendship with Joey, the boy next door, whose unhappy home life is a dark contrast to Chirp's. And when Chirp is going through a particularly difficult time, her friendship with Joey may provide the safe space that she needs when her world seems to be falling apart.

This book does a fine job of being poignant but not manipulative in dealing with serious subject matter. Characterization is definitely one of this author's strong suits -- each character is flawed but likable, and acts in ways that seemed to me entirely true to life. I do wonder why the author chose to set the book in the 1970s, as opposed to present-day. All in all, this is a good book for readers who enjoy juvenile fiction that touches on serious issues.

(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)

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