Tuesday, August 1, 2017

44. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

read on my iPhone/Kindle/Book/Audible
2016, Crown Books for Young Readers
384 pgs.
Finished 8/1/2017
Goodreads rating:  4.21 - 8280 ratings
My rating:  5 Top-notch fiction
Setting: Contemporary rural Tennessee, somewhat near Nashville

First line/s:  "There were things that Dillard Wayne Early Jr. dreaded more than the first day of school at Forrestville High.  Not many, but a few."

My comments:  This wonderful book is about so many things.  It's about rising above the atrocities of horrible parenting.  It's about friendship, real friendship that touches your core.  It's about grief and about withstanding the hundreds of little pushes in the wrong direction that it might bring.  It's about perseverance and resilience.  It's about living your life for yourself, and finding the little things that matter the most and can sustain you, no matter what. Not only was this a fantastic book for young adults, fut for old adults, too.

Goodreads synopsis: 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.
          The only antidote to all this venom is his friendship with fellow outcasts Travis and Lydia. But as they are starting their senior year, Dill feels the coils of his future tightening around him. The end of high school will lead to new beginnings for Lydia, whose edgy fashion blog is her ticket out of their rural Tennessee town. And Travis is happy wherever he is thanks to his obsession with the epic book series Bloodfall and the fangirl who may be turning his harsh reality into real-life fantasy. Dill’s only escapes are his 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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