Posted in 2014-2015 Club, Not Mock Newbery

Nightingale’s Nest, by Nikki Loftin

Nightingales NestSummary:  In this twist on “The Nightingale,” Little John, despite his own poverty and grief, reaches out to Gayle, an unhappy foster child living next-door who sings beautifully and hides a great secret.

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5 thoughts on “Nightingale’s Nest, by Nikki Loftin

  1. I thought it was a great concept to take the fairy talIe, The Nightingale, and turn it into a chapter book for middle grade readers. Overall, I will say I don’t this book is distinguished enough to win the Newbery Award. The plot did escalate and there was a good deal of tension that wanted to be resolved. The characters were well painted. We had Tree, who is trying to deal with a family tragedy by hiding it from his friends. This causes his isolation which makes Gayle’s presence in his life most welcome. The character of Mr. King or the Emperor was well done. And the parents were well done, too. Probably the weakest character was Gayle. I know she was supposed to be the girl that drew everyone to her but I didn’t think her dialogue rang true. For me, I didn’t understand what Mr. King was supposed to have done to her to cause all the problems, and in this story, we should have known a little more about what happened. Did Mr. King hurt her or did just having her voice stolen do the damage? Setting was pretty well done. All in all, I think the weakest criteria was the writing style. It was not consistent. There was a straightforward writing style at time and other times lyrical or poetic. The writing would have benefited from consistency. It is also a heavy book with a lot of suffering involved. I think a work for children needs a good balance between the heaviness and lightness. Here is all heaviness and it weighs the story down.

  2. I would like more of our readers to talk about this book. The combination of magical qualities with realistic pressures and ethical judgment flows through the whole story. Tree is Gayle’s shelter in the face of threats, but he is faced with his family’s needs. Recording Gayle’s voice took it out of her, whether magically or emotionally. Looking at her as a Nightingale helps the perspective, I think. But as I said, there will be discussion after more readers get to it.

  3. For a book with the genre of magical realism, I found Nightingale’s Nest to be a lot better than I expected. The thing about magical realism is that a lot of the time it seems that the magic in the story adds nothing to the book and that it would have been better without it. However, to me, it was different with this book. The magic seemed necessary. Its what gave the book its beauty and what made the theme memorable. The little girl in the story, Gayle, who has a very odd personality and who claims is part bird, has the power to heal people with her singing. Clearly, the theme of this book was healing and forgiveness and Gayle’s innocent character, willingness to forgive and magical abilities brought the theme to life. I felt that everything came together at the end when Gayle heals not only Little’s John’s wounds, inside and outside, but the Emperor’s as well, his inner and outer wounds. However, I agree that it was a heavy book and I never really felt happy while reading it. Even the saddest of books usually has a moment or two of light , where the reader can forget about all the stress of the plot, but in this book, I often felt overwhelmed by the time limits for the payments and the betrayals, and death and unpredictable Gayle, and the hurts and the sinister magic. There was no solid part in the story that I could hold on to as a moment where nothing bad could happen and relax. Even at the end where it seems the author tries to wrap it up with happy feeling I still feel melancholy about Gayle’s departure. Because of the beauty and sorrow in this book it could have been very distinguished however, personally I felt that it was dragged down by its depressing content too much to be properly enjoyed and remembered.

  4. Nightingale’s Nest is one of my favorites this year. This story tells of a boy who meets a girl named Gayle. Gayle, a foster child, has the power of healing in her voice which makes a rich man named Mr. King greedy, which led to him stealing her voice. Little John falls in love with Gayle because she reminds him of his dead sister who recently passed away. It’s up to Little John to help Gayle. This book was sweet and kind of mysterious. The theme of healing and brotherly love prevailed throughout the story which helped when the reader gets to the sad parts. This was a book to remember.

  5. Ummm….. When I first started reading this, I thought it would be better than it was. The story was too depressing, and no matter how crazy this sounds, I don’t think the “bad guys” were good enough. They were more mean than bad; there’s a big difference. Especially in the end, when one of them almost dies, I was thinking, “Poor guy!” even though you are supposed to not like him. So, basically I kept getting bored or sad by reading this. I also think that Gayle’s healing voice was too…much. It messed up the story a little, in a way that is hard to explain… Overall, this book is not on my list of favorites, and I do not think this is a Newbery.

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