Chirp by Kate Messner
Release date: February 4, 2020
An ARC was provided by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: When Mia moves to Vermont the summer after seventh grade, she's recovering from the broken arm she got falling off a balance beam. And packed away in the moving boxes under her clothes and gymnastics trophies is a secret she'd rather forget.
Mia's change in scenery brings day camp, new friends, and time with her beloved grandmother. But Gram is convinced someone is trying to destroy her cricket farm. Is it sabotage or is Gram's thinking impaired from the stroke she suffered months ago? Mia and her friends set out to investigate, but can they uncover the truth in time to save Gram's farm? And will that discovery empower Mia to confront the secret she's been hiding--and find the courage she never knew she had?
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: One thing is certain about Kate Messner's books - she always addresses tough topics in an approachable way for middle grade readers without ever talking down to them. Although Chirp does not revolve around sexual assault, it is still addressed in a poignant, relevant way, especially in this #MeToo age when so many girls and women have come forward to share their experiences.
But Chirp is more about Mia's grandmother's cricket farm. It is seemingly being sabotaged, and Mia is determined to figure out who is behind the accidents and troubles. I am someone who is super squeamish about bugs and would never consider eating them, but I thought Messner did a great job of writing everything about the farm and why it exists. The book is also about Mia finding her footing again, and it was so good to see her get involved in an entrepreneurial space for tweens AND an American Ninja Warrior-esque camp. Both these activities help rebuild her strength. She also acquires some new friends, and I would've liked a little more page space devoted to Clover and Anna.
Content warnings: (age appropriately) referenced and described past sexual assault
The Verdict: Another solid book from Kate Messner. :)
Will I be adding this book to my library?: It's likely.