Monday, January 25, 2016

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

2016, Random House

Dillard Early....named after his father, who was named after his father.  The family has been a legend in the small town of Forrestville, Tennessee.  Dill's grandfather was the legendary Serpent King.  His father was a reverend who handled snakes and drank poison but never died.  He's in jail now because of the illegal images the FBI found downloaded on the good reverend's computer.  Dill lives under a cloud of a bad reputation and constant small town suspicion and all he can hope for is that the madness doesn't exist in him...

Travis loves fantasy novels and lives in them whenever the chance presents itself.  He doesn't care what people think about him and the dragon necklace he wears or the staff he takes everywhere with him.  What truly matters to him is the newest book in the Bloodfall series, and the online forum where he can share his passion for the House of Northbrook.  Now, the forum takes on a special meaning when he meets Amelia, who shares the same passion for the series he does.  He's never had a girlfriend...will she be the first?

Lydia could care less about the small town she has to live in.  She has bigger aspirations, which include hopefully getting into NYU and interning for a fashion magazine.  She's an internet star and her blog, Dollywould has hundreds of thousands of followers.  She takes her fans with her into funky consignment stores and shows them what living outside the coloring lines can be like.  She is her own person, and is grateful that her parents allow her to be, even if her classmates make fun of her.  She doesn't's all about the future.

What these three have in common in a unique friendship they have among themselves.  Dill's family is drowning in debt and he's helping by working all the time.  There is no way out for him. Travis's family owns the local lumber yard in town, but the danger he faces is at home with his dad. Lydia's father is the local dentist and things come easily for her but she creates a facade to keep her readers happy, never revealing who she truly is.

It's their backgrounds which make this trio's friendship so special.  They each want to leave the world behind better than when they lived in it....a special mark to be remembered.  During their senior year, they find themselves swimming in hope, destiny, and desperate times and the only life saver they have in these turbulent waters are each other.  But sometimes, dreams are realized....and sometimes they aren't...

Jeff Zentner brings small town life to light in this book where everyone knows everything that happens and where reputations are hard long-lasting. The readers gets to see not only the individual lives of the three main characters, but also the nuances that happen when Lydia, Dill and Travis get together.  They are three teens who don't belong in a small town, and struggle to find their way through and in one.  But more than that, Zentner writes to the reader's heart, where emotions will ride along with the pages.  The more involved you become in the friendship, the more you'll fill for what happens to all three.  HIGHLY recommended.  


bj neary said...

Loved your review, now I can't wait to read it, thanks!

bj neary said...

Loved this book! Teens will certainly be reading this book:)