A powerful novel about friendship and family that calls to mind Bridge to Terabithia
Twelve-year-old John Fischer Jr., or “Little John” as he’s always been known, is spending his summer helping his father with his tree removal business, clearing brush for Mr. King, the wealthy owner of a chain of Texas dollar stores, when he hears a beautiful song that transfixes him. He follows the melody and finds, not a bird, but a young girl sitting in the branches of a tall sycamore tree.
There’s something magical about this girl, Gayle, especially her soaring singing voice, and Little John’s friendship with Gayle quickly becomes the one bright spot in his life, for his home is dominated by sorrow over his sister’s death and his parents’ ever-tightening financial difficulties.
But then Mr. King draws Little John into an impossible choice—forced to choose between his family’s survival and a betrayal of Gayle that puts her future in jeopardy.
Inspired by a Hans Christian Andersen story, Nightingale's Nest is an unforgettable novel about a boy with the weight of the world on his shoulders and a girl with the gift of healing in her voice.
About the Author
Nikki Loftin lives and writes just outside Austin, Texas, surrounded by dogs, chickens, and small, loud boys. She is also the author of The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy, which Publishers Weekly called “mesmerizing” and Kirkus called “irresistible.” You can visit her online at www.nikkiloftin.com.
What People are Saying About This
PRAISE FOR NIGHTINGALE'S NEST:
“It was the writing, of course, that struck my attention first. Loftin gives the book beautiful sequences filled with equally beautiful sentences. . . . As for the characters, there wasn’t a person here that I couldn’t recognize as real. I was quite taken with the fact that Loftin continually sidesteps a lot of the usual middle grade tropes. . . . Smart and beautiful by turns, Nightingale’s Nest does one thing that few will contest. Once you’ve read it, you’ll have a hard time getting it out of your head.” –Elizabeth Bird, School Library Journal Blog
"Unusual, finely crafted story of loss, betrayal, and healing." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Magical realism meets coming of age in this sensitive and haunting novel . . . . Read this aloud and have both boys and girls alike utterly enraptured." –BCCB, starred review
"It is Loftin’s skill in depicting both the human and the arboreal characters that will engage and inspire readers. The lyrical, descriptive prose and the hopeful ending will linger long after the final chapter." —School Library Journal
"An extraordinary read—I had to tear myself away from it."—Katherine Catmull, author of Summer and Bird
"Perfectly captures the challenges of growing up and dealing with loss. Get ready to have your heart touched."—Shannon Messenger, author of Keeper of the Lost Cities
"Tugs and tears at the reader’s heart. . . . lovely and magical."—Bethany Hegedus, author of Truth with a Capital T and Between Us Baxters
"Riveting. . . . This is a book you'll long remember."—Lynda Mullaly Hunt, author of One for the Murphys
"Loftin's eye for strange beauty in unexpected places often takes the reader's breath away."—Claire Legrand, author of The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls
"Will haunt your soul—and lift your heart."—Kimberley Griffiths Little, author of The Healing Spell and When the Butterflies Came
"A haunting, beautifully told story!"—Bobbie Pyron, author of The Dogs of Winter and A Dog's Way Home
"The kind of book I wanted to read slowly."—Shelley Moore Thomas, author of The Seven Tales of Trinket
"This is a work of tremendous heart."—Anne Ursu, author of Breadcrumbs
PRAISE FOR NIKKI LOFTIN:
"A mesmerizing read."—Publisher's Weekly
"An irresistable contemporary fairy tale."—Kirkus Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
So many aches, wants, and needs can leave us broken, even as children--but Ms. Loftin's gorgeous prose has the potential to sing it all better, just like Gayle does for those around her. This is a lovely story of heartbreak, regret, and forgiveness. The bonds of friendship and family (and even enemies) are explored with emotional honesty. The magical realism element is expertly wrought and infuses a sense of deep anticipatory hope that lingers long after the story ends. Whether a young reader has experienced heartache, or encounters it for the first time in the story, the underlying message throughout is one of hope and perseverance that lifts up, rather than depresses. Beautiful story beautifully told.