Nightingale’s Nest by Nikki Loftin
7 word summary: Gayle’s searching for her nest and tree.
Realistic fantasy. Stand-alone novel. Share with ages 9+.
Little John’s spending his summer working with his dad, worrying about his mom, and trying desperately to forget. While trimming trees, he hears the most beautiful song being sung. In the top of a tree, in a handmade nest, is Gayle – tiny and waiflike, a foster child at the toughest house in town. Mr. King, aka The Emperor – also hears the song and propositions Little John: get Gayle to sing for him, and he’ll earn a quick $500. With money woes in his family, Little John ultimately agrees…but at what cost? Realistic and fantastical, this magical story with flawed, honest characters is utterly brilliant. The sense of creepy foreboding that Loftin builds – without one spooky reference – propels the reader toward the unexpected, uplifting ending. It’s been a long time since I cried and cheered at the climax of this story. This one is worth it. Highly recommended.