March Buzz Book:
The Serpent King
by Jeff Zentner
What the Teen Press Corps Is Saying
“The Serpent King is an atmospheric novel; its unique setting in rural Tennessee stands out and the characters are enjoyable to read about. Dill, the main character, has grown up in a really religious background and his incarcerated pastor father is the talk of the town. Lydia is a well-known fashion blogger. Travis is a super-fan of the fantasy series BLOODFALL. These three unlikely friends traverse senior year and stand together through their hardships. Zentner’s debut is a well-written, unique story that is worth reading.”
-Xander, Teen Press
About the Book:
Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.
He and his fellow outcast friends must try to make it through their senior year of high school without letting the small-town culture destroy their creative spirits and sense of self. Graduation will lead to new beginnings for Lydia, whose edgy fashion blog is her ticket out of their rural Tennessee town. And Travis is content where he is thanks to his obsession with an epic book series and the fangirl turning his reality into real-life fantasy.
Their diverging paths could mean the end of their friendship. But not before Dill confronts his dark legacy to attempt to find a way into the light of a future worth living.
[T]his novel offers a heartbreaking yet ultimately hopeful portrait of three friends and the love/hate relationship they have with the insular community they grew up in.
–The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred)
[D]azzingly written…A tale to make you weep, and be glad, about big questions and small joys.
–The Sunday Times (London)
Thorough characterization and artful prose allow readers to intimately experience the highs and lows of these three friends. VERDICT: Recommended for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell.
–School Library Journal