NEST by Esther Ehrlich is a book categorized by Barnes & Noble for 10 to 12 year olds. I fall far outside that age range, and obviously not on the lower side, and I don’t know that I’d let my ten, eleven, or twelve year old read this book. I don’t have kids, so this is pure speculation, but the themes of the book seem too mature for that age range. It’s true that the main character, Naomi “Chirp” Orenstein, is in that age range and maybe that explains the classification for the book.
Chirp is forced to endure things that no child should have to see. Maybe girls her age who read the book are meant to see these things from a distance and understand them without experiencing them. I’m not sure of Ehrlich’s goal here.
I do know that I loved to read when I was ten, eleven, and twelve and I think I can safely say that this book would have disturbed me then.
This is not, absolutely not, to say that Ehrlich doesn’t do a brilliant job of handling the mature themes of child abuse, depression, and suicide the way a twelve year old might see them. She handles it with perfection. It’s real and it’s raw and it hurt sometimes.
I’m glad I read this book, I’m better for it.
It’s just that I’d mark it for 13 to 15 year olds if I were the editor. And if I were a parent, I hope I’d read something like this before I gave it to my 10 or 12 year old so we could talk about it afterward.
NEST is available for purchase now.
(I received a copy of NEST through NetGalley in exchange for an honest & original review. This review will be cross-posted there, on my Goodreads account, and on my blog.)