As we begin to read and experience the story through Chirp’s youthful lens, we begin to see that despite Chirp’s age, she is in the cusp of maturity. She is constantly seeking ways in which she can return to a younger time when all things were different. Her biggest lesson is understanding that life, at times, has a cruel way of forcing one to move forward. This forward expedition can be unwanted—but time always lends a helping force in the form of a good friend. Joey Morell, an eleven year old boy from school and a boy whom Chirp’s dad, a psychiatrist, says comes from a family with significant issues, is that good friend.
Joey is a friend that always makes an appearance in the story when Chirp needs him the most. He is her nest and her comfort when family situations become dire. Chirp understands her family’s struggle, but sweetly denies her worst fears. Joey, and her birds — their nests — become a place of familiarity and a place where she can mature.
Set in the summer of 1972, Nest ends with readers knowing that Chirp and Joey will have the comfort of their friendship and each other in overcoming harsh, and sometimes cruel, realities. I hope that Ehrlich has plans to develop another story with an older Chirp and Joey — I would love to see their characters develop into a strong Young Adult relationship.
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