Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Twenty years ago, Aniston Kline learned that childhood rhyme wasn't true after being bullied in junior high. Now a newspaper reporter, Aniston returns to her hometown--a place she thought she would never return to--prepared to write an article about a boy's story that echoes her past. Aniston wants nothing more than to slip in and out of Savanna Shores unseen and unrecognized by anyone who might still remember her; however, a brutal snowstorm ushers her into town and leaves her stranded in a snowstorm with her high school crush, Arjay. Arjay Mason was once the handsome quarterback of the high school football team. Now a police officer in Savanna Shores, he has yet to find lasting love. He realizes he already missed one opportunity with Aniston and doesn't want her to leave again--but how could she stay in a town that once caused her pain? As Aniston faces her own demons from her past and sifts through old emotions with Arjay, the fate of a teenage girl named Maddie becomes intricately intertwined with the two adults' to reveal a much grander plan for everyone involved. While it seemed like it was just coincidence that brought together Aniston and Arjay, the two begin to understand there's a reason they were brought together again . . .
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What is so lovely about this book isn't just the wonderful and beautiful love story that plays out. Arjay and Aniston's story was a story in the making for years and years. Until their hearts were in the right place, their love couldn't shine. And as the pages turn and the story unfolds, we see the longing from years past to the present. Intertwined with this story is a more deeply moving story about bullying and how it damages a person, especially the most vulnerable: the children. Like the double helix, these two stories are connected and they push each other along but with one main tether: God. The exact time, the exact place, the exact people: all things happen when God is in control, which is another theme in this story. "Do you know what they talked about? Doves. How they symbolize peace, tenderness, innocence, and gentleness. How we must not let those parts of ourselves become caged..." When I think back upon that line, I see the symbolism and it speaks to me. There is hardly a book that can make me cry and smile at the same time. And Caged Dove did that. And rarely does a book stay with me after I turn that last page, but Caged Dove did that, too.