Chirp is a thoughtful and naive eleven-year old girl living a mostly care-free, play-centered life, when her mother is diagnosed with a serious medical condition. Most of the book centers on Chirp’s struggle to understand and accept the changes in her family after her mother is diagnosed–which ends up leading her to an unlikely friendship with her somewhat rough and intimidating neighbor, Joey.
This may be a book for young readers, but, make no mistake, there is real depth here. I couldn’t believe how well Ehrlich was able to show the playfulness and innocence of these two kids, while also conveying the complexity of their thoughts and observations, and their confusion in navigating the “adult world” around them. I could so perfectly imagine Chirp and Joey running through the thick blackberry bushes, but I could also easily empathize with their feelings of uncertainty, fear, and sadness when they experienced real and devastating loss. I loved these kids. I felt for them, and there were many times I wished I could have reached into the pages of this book to give Chirp and Joey a comforting hug.
In the end, I thought this was a wonderful book. It flowed effortlessly and the characters were so very well-developed. It was an absolute joy to read.