The Fifth Floor and To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee has been my favorite book since 1984 when a friend gave me a copy. I still have the book today and have read it numerous times throughout the last thirty years. The Fifth Floor, my debut novel, depicts a significant change in seventeen-year-old Anna’s life after reading Harper Lee’s beloved story To Kill a Mockingbird.

The Fifth Floor tells the story of Anna, a teen overwhelmed by life after a tragic event, who is admitted to the fifth floor of a local hospital. Guarding her past like her life depends on it, Anna begins to connect with Ben, another patient on the fifth floor.

One evening Ben reads his favorite passage from To Kill a Mockingbird—Miss Maudie’s explanation of why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird—then bestows his treasured book to Anna. She spends the night reading the story. The next morning, with many questions for Ben of why he’s read this particular passage, Anna learns of his release from the hospital.

Anna is left to wonder why Ben has chosen this particular book and that particular excerpt on her own, and she begins a quest to discover the reason behind Ben’s decision. Then something unexpected happens—her quest to discover why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird begins to free her from tragic childhood memories.