Jeff Zentner – The Serpent King

Review From User :

This book just knocked a whole lot of books down on my favorites list and it's a young adult book. It's one of my top books ever and I'm terrified to review it because I'm so scared that I can't do it any justice and I want everyone to read this book.

People live quiet lives and that's okay. There's dignity in that, no matter what you may think.

Set in a rural Tennessee small town that was named after a big wig in the KKK the story takes place over one year. One year in the life of three teenagers that are in their last year of highschool.

Travis is a big guy that dresses all in black with a dragon necklace and his homemade staff. He wants to take that dang staff everywhere he goes. He is obsessed with a fantasy book series called Bloodfall and except for his two friends Dill and Lydia, he would rather live in his fantasy world and escape his abusive father.
"Rest, O Knight, proud in victory, proud in death. Let your name evermore be a light to those who loved you. Let white flowers grow upon this place that you rest. Yours was a life well lived, and now you dine in the halls of the Elders at their eternal feast."
"I had no idea those books meant that much to you Travis," Lydia murmured. "Now I fell all bad about making all those Bloodfall jokes."
"Does that mean you'll read them"
"No."

Lydia is that free spirit. Her family is actually pretty well off and very supportive, but Lydia doesn't fit in with the small town Bible belt because she can't conform. She wears eclectic clothing and is sarcastic to almost being abrasive. She runs a blog on fashion advice called Dollywould. Lydia can not wait to get out of this hick town and take on the world.

Then you have Dill. Dill's preacher dad recently went to prison. Not for having his congregation handle copperheads and rattlesnakes or even for having them drink strychnine, but Dill's mom and of course his dad blame Dill for him ending up in prison. Dill hates life in the town and is teased and ridiculed because of who his father is. He and his mom swim in debt that his father left them and his Jesus freak mom can't wait for Dill to quit school and help her share some of the load of his father's bills. The only shining lights in Dill's life are his two friends and Lydia is leaving soon.

That is just a small peek at these characters. Because they all three are just so much more.

The author of this book writes this whole living in a small southern town to absolute perfection. The people, the setting, the smells in the air. Perfection. Then the whole having a dad in prison thing. My real life involved that and he completely wrapped me in this story. Even though my story was many years ago..I felt for this kid so much.
And depression. He describes that sinking cesspool of depression like I've never read before. If you haven't had a time in your life where you just could not get out of bed and make yourself function..this book puts you there.
But it's not just that. Don't think it's just a "head in the oven" book. It's a book about feeling trapped and moving on. Feeling you can't do what others say you can't and moving on. Standing up for yourself and moving on. It's about that light still shining.

"I read somewhere that a lot of the stars we see don't exist anymore. They've already died and it's taken millions of years for their light to reach Earth," Dill said.
"That wouldn't be a bad way to die," Lydia said. "Giving off light for million of years after you're gone."

I'm probably going to have to restrict myself from coming and looking at reviews for this book..because for the first time ever it's a book that I would want to troll someone for hating. I wouldn't do that because then I would be an asshole but I love this one just that much.
I was reading it last night and trying to keep from tears coming down my face and I looked and my husband had noticed. We are that weirdo family who make fun of each other for stuff like that...it's how we roll. He actually said he was surprised watching my face read this book. He said he had seen all my emotions go across my face. I couldn't even explain to him why I loved this book so much without sobbing. I think I am either menopausal or going crazy. I'm not a crier. I cried all through this dang book even though it's not entirely sad. The writing did that to me.

Jeff Zentner is a musician..who decided that he would write a book. It's hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that THIS book is his first book. I will rabidly pick up anything this guy puts out. He wants to write something on a napkin and throw it in the trash. I will dig in that trash and treasure that dirty napkin. Stop judging me.

Everybody just go read this book so that I'll shut up. I'm embarrassing my own damn self.

Netgalley in exchange for review



I love this review for this book so much. She gets this book.


Dill isn’t the most popular kid at his rural Tennessee high school. After his father fell from grace in a public scandal that reverberated throughout their small town, Dill became a target. Fortunately, his two fellow misfits and best friends, Travis and Lydia, have his back.

But as they begin their senior year, Dill feels the coils of his future tightening around him. His only escapes are music and his secret feelings for Lydia–neither of which he is brave enough to share. Graduation feels more like an ending to Dill than a beginning. But even before then, he must cope with another ending–one that will rock his life to the core.

Debut novelist Jeff Zentner provides an unblinking and at times comic view of the hard realities of growing up in the Bible belt, and an intimate look at the struggles to find one’s true self in the wreckage of the past.

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