cover image Nest


Esther Ehrlich. Random/Lamb, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-385-38607-4

First-time author Ehrlich’s achingly realistic depiction of family love and loss is set on Cape Cod during the early 1970s. Chirp Orenstein’s mother, Hannah, is a vivacious, talented dancer until a leg ailment forces her to slow down. When Hannah is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she falls into a deep depression, fading to an almost unrecognizable shadow of her former self. No one—not Chirp, not her older sister, not their psychiatrist father—can make Hannah feel better. Chirp keeps her sadness and feelings of helplessness to herself except when she’s with her friend Joey, a neighbor who spends a good deal of time trying to avoid his violent father and seems to understand what Chirp is going through. 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. Allusions to songs and trends of the era and references to Chirp’s strong Jewish heritage accentuate and ground the story. Ages 8–12. Agent: Susan Golomb, Susan Golomb Literary Agency. (Sept.)