After my first YA-novel, Honeysuckle Holiday, was released I, with deep humility, slid it next to my favorite novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, on the top shelf of my bookcase. On the opposite end of the bookends is a copy of Mary Oliver's Upstream. And when my MG-novel, Marble Town, was released, it found its own spot next to Honeysuckle Holiday. The works keep close company with The Catcher in the Rye and A Christmas Memory. And after a lifetime of reading timeless classics and contemporary works of fiction and poetry, I did not slide -- for more than a few years -- in between these treasures another work that holds for me the overwhelming joy that these select few hold -- until today.

As I finished reading the last intoxicating and beautiful words of The Nightingale, I knew that it would find its way on the top shelf, in between those commanding acrylic dachshund bookends, but not until I held it first, close to my heart, as I continue to fall deeper and deeper in love with words, knowing that the right mix of 26 letters will always be magical.

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