She couldn’t remember the first book she had eaten.
What it had tasted like, how it had felt – the scratch of it as it slid down her throat.
She couldn’t remember why she’d done it. She must have been a baby, a toddler, ripping pages out of a picture book about a talking stuffed animal.
Had the smell of books calmed her down then, as it did now?
“The way he said her name made my heart cramp. In all my years of word collecting, I’ve learned this to be a tried and true fact: I can very often tell how much a person loves another person by the way they say their name. I think that’s one of the best feelings in the world, when you know your name is safe in another person’s mouth. When you know they’ll never shout it out like a cuss word, but say it or whisper it like a once-upon-a-time.”
Mia hadn’t realized how much she missed the mountains. The countryside rolling past her car window was greener than anything in Boston. She loved the moose-crossing signs and the little villages that felt so sleepy and peaceful. June was in-between season in New England, but in another week, the roads would be humming with campers and fancy cars full of New York City people who stopped to take selfies with cows. For now, Mia loved watching the quiet landscapes drift by. Packing the moving truck the day after school ended had been a hassle, but she really was glad to be moving back to Vermont.