Chirp (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

I challenge you to read this book and not laugh-out-loud!
Mia is enjoying summer - new camps, new friends, and best of all, helping her grandma on the farm. And she needs help - people aren't excited to eat her product, because... she grows crickets. The answer? Launch a social media cricket eating challenge, of course!
As Mia and her friends look to the future and work on growing the cricket business, Mia is also looking to her past. She used to be a star gymnast, but since her fall, she gets queasy just looking at a balance beam. But maybe the fall wasn't the only thing that makes her hesitant to go back...
Kate Messner is a master of tween stories, giving readers current big world-issues to explore, and creating fully-formed characters you can root for!

Leah Moore

Mia and her parents move back to Vermont after several years living in Boston to help her grandmother with the family farm. Only this is not your typical farm. It is a cricket farm. And Mia’s parents think it is time for Grandmother to sell, especially after her recent stroke. But Mia is devastated to think anything is wrong with her beloved grandmother, but when odd coincidences start happening, Grandma thinks sabotage. Has she lost her mind or is there something afoot? Mia and her new friends start to sleuth about to find out who is responsible. Can Mia help her grandmother before it is too late? And can Mia be any real help when she is hiding her own secrets? (Ages 10 14, some mature themes, but handled respectfully and accessible to all readers.)


When Mia moves to VT, she's still mentally - and physically - recovering from a broken arm and a past she'd rather much forget. Bouncing between making new friends, convincing people to introduce crickets into their palates, and unraveling the mystery behind her grandmother's cricket farm sabotage, will Mia be able to overcome her fear, and muster enough courage to speak up?
A compelling story about friendship, family, and finding your voice, Chirp is full of heart, honesty and the courage to do what is right. — Angela Turon

An honest and powerful book that should be in every bookstore and school library. The parallels between the cricket farm and a woman's experience in this male dominated world were unexpected but worked for the story. Kate Messner does an excellent job of creating an engaging story, while also sharing words of wisdom that the intended audience (Middle-grade) can understand. — Cassidy Washburn

Spring 2020 Kids Indie Next List

“Mia is not too happy about moving to Vermont after seventh grade, especially with a broken arm, but she makes friends, finds her spirit, and helps to solve mysteries regarding her grandmother’s cricket farm. Mia has her own secrets, too, and it isn’t until she finds courage in other people’s stories that she can confront her fears. Messner is unparalleled in understanding young people’s minds, and her skillful and sensitive handling of difficult topics and situations makes this story one both young people and adults will be glad they read.”
— Gail Meyer, The Bookstore Plus Music & Art, Lake Placid, NY


"[A] deftly layered mystery about family, friendship, and the struggle to speak up." - Laurie Halse Anderson, bestselling author of Speak and Shout

From acclaimed author Kate Messner comes the powerful story of a young girl with the courage to make her voice heard, set against the backdrop of a summertime mystery.

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?

In a compelling story rich with friendship, science, and summer fun, a girl finds her voice while navigating the joys and challenges of growing up.

About the Author

Kate Messner is a former middle-school English teacher and the author of E. B. White Read Aloud Award winner The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. and its companion, The Exact Location of Home; Sugar and Ice; Eye of the Storm; Wake Up Missing; All the Answers; The Seventh Wish; Capture the Flag; Hide and Seek; the Marty McGuire chapter book series; the Ranger in Time chapter book series; and several picture books. She lives on Lake Champlain with her husband and two kids. When she's not reading or writing, she loves hiking, kayaking, biking, and watching thunderstorms over the lake.

Praise For…

Kate Messner strikes the perfect balance of joy, pain, and strength in this deftly layered mystery about family, friendship, and the struggle to speak up. Laurie Halse Anderson, bestselling author of SPEAK and SHOUT

Chirp is so many things: a mystery, a family story, and a story of the power of friendship. It's about learning to speak out when it seems the whole world would rather you shut up. Sure to be passed from kid to kid to kid Laura Ruby, National Book Award Finalist and author of the York Trilogy

Once again, Kate Messner has written a book that will be a dear and important friend to her readers. A loving and compelling ode to the joy of friendship, the many kinds of strength, and the everyday bravery of girls. Anne Ursu, author of THE LOST GIRL

Messner honors middle graders by exploring important, relevant issues at their level of understanding. This book will prompt discussions of gender inequality, consent, and sexual abuse. A must purchase. Starred Review, School Library Connection

Messner deftly weaves together myriad complex plot threads to form a captivating whole. . . . Rich, timely, and beautifully written. Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

Layering mystery elements, strong and myriad female characters, and a poignant analogy involving chirp-less female crickets, Messner gently guides Mia on a journey of resilience that both comforts and inspires. Publishers Weekly, starred review

Chockfull of strong female role models, Chirp is a riveting middle grade novel of empowerment that deftly tackles a delicate, imperative subject. BookPage, starred review

"A deliciously layered concoction of mystery, friend bonding and girl power. . . . Messner gracefully spins multiple threads into one beautiful, empowering novel that is likely to satisfy warriors and quietly courageous readers alike." - Shelf Awareness, starred review

Amid common themes of friendship and overcoming fears, Messner folds in strong messaging about sexual harassment. . . . This book directly addresses a relevant topic rarely discussed with middleschoolers. Booklist

Impactful. . . . A message many young people can benefit from hearing. BCCB

A timely '#MeToo' novel wrapped in intriguing parallel mysteries. School Library Journal

"Resonant, necessary. . . . At its heart, Chirp is a female-powered story about courage." - The New York Times Book Review

An effective, authentically wrought look at how fear and ignorance can lead people to treat those of different races or from different places with suspicion. Messner shines a light on the ways that people are blind to their own privilege while quick to judge others. Publishers Weekly, starred review, on BREAKOUT

An accessible format and a unique focus on contemporary issues of criminal justice and racial bias make this an essential purchase. School Library Journal, starred review, on BREAKOUT

A sensitive coming-of-age tale about waking up to injustice and where that knowledge can lead. Kirkus Reviews on BREAKOUT

Authentic . . . . Middle school worries and social issues skillfully woven into a moving, hopeful, STEM-related tale. Starred review, Kirkus Reviews on THE EXACT LOCATION OF HOME

Vivid characters and situations, along with clear, simple writing and plotting, make this an accessible and enlightening read. A gentle but truthful look at poverty and homelessness. School Library Journal, starred review, on THE EXACT LOCATION OF HOME

An empathetic, beautiful, magical, fiercely necessary book that stares unflinchingly at the very real challenges contemporary kids face and gently assures them they are not alone. Kate Messner gives her readers a story to cherish. Anne Ursu, author of BREADCRUMBS and THE REAL BOY on THE SEVENTH WISH

Hopeful, empathetic, and unusually enlightening. Kirkus Reviews, starred review, on THE SEVENTH WISH

Product Details
ISBN: 9781547602810
ISBN-10: 1547602813
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Publication Date: February 4th, 2020
Pages: 240