Dill, Lydia, and Travis are finishing high school, but while Lydia is getting ready to embark on a new adventure, Dill and Travis plan to continue living in the same small town, under the thumb of their domineering parents. Dill’s mother has never forgiven him for testifying against his own father, a Pentecostal minister known for handling snakes. Travis’s father is abusive and Travis’s best escape is a fantasy series by his favorite author. The characters and writing in this book are stunning and, although you will cry, you will also rejoice as Dill slowly re-discovers his own voice.
~ Eight Cousins— From Holiday Picks 2016
Named to ten BEST OF THE YEAR lists and selected as a William C. Morris Award Winner,The Serpent King is the critically acclaimed, much-beloved story of three teens who find themselves--and each other--while on the cusp of graduating from high school with hopes of leaving their small-town behind. Perfect for fans of John Green's Turtles All the Way Down.
"Move over, John Green; Zentner is coming for you." —The New York Public Library
“Will fill the infinite space that was left in your chest after you finished The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” —BookRiot.com
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.
“A story about friendship, family and forgiveness, it’s as funny and witty as it is utterly heartbreaking.” —PasteMagazine.com
“A brutally honest portrayal of teen life . . . [and] a love letter to the South from a man who really understands it.” —Mashable.com
“I adored all three of these characters and the way they talked to and loved one another.”—New York Times
About the Author
Before becoming a writer, JEFF ZENTNER was a singer-songwriter and guitarist who recorded with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, and Debbie Harry. He lives in Nashville with his wife and son. Committed to making creativity a part of his everyday life, Zentner wrote both his debut novel, The Serpent King, and his follow-up book, Goodbye Days, on his iPhone while taking the bus to and from work. You can follow Zentner on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Twitter at @jeffzentner.
A William C. Morris Award Winner
A New York Times Notable Book
An Amazon Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A BuzzFeed Best YA Book of the Year
A Mashable Best YA Book of the Year
A Shelf Awareness Best Teen Book of the Year
A Hudson Booksellers Best Book of the Year
A B&N Best YA Book of the Year
A Southern Living Best Book of the Year
An Indie Next List Top Ten Selection
A Paste Magazine and popcrush.com Most Anticipated YA Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Spring 2016 Flying Start
"A book you won't be able to resist or forget. The Southern boy in me savored every syllable and the reader in me fell in love with every page." –John Corey Whaley, National Book Award finalist and Printz Award winner
"A triumph of love and dignity." –Stephanie Perkins, New York Times bestselling author
"Move over, John Green; Zentner is coming for you." –The New York Public Library
"Will fill the infinite space that was left in your chest after you finished The Perks of Being a Wallflower." –BookRiot.com
"A story about friendship, family and forgiveness, it's as funny and witty as it is utterly heartbreaking." –PasteMagazine.com
"A brutally honest portrayal of teen life . . . [and] a love letter to the South from a man who really understands it." –Mashable.com
"I adored all three of these characters and the way they talked to and loved one another." –New York Times Book Review
"A new voice to savor." –Kirkus, Starred
"[T]his sepia-toned portrait of small-town life serves as a moving testament to love, loyalty, faith, and reaching through the darkness to find light and hope." –PW, Starred
"Pens would run dry if readers were to underline extraordinary sentences--the kind that are so true, or funny, or beautiful that they clamp hearts. . . . [An] extraordinary YA debut." –Shelf Awareness, Starred
"The third-person narration manages to convey distinct flavor for each deeply personal and introspective storyline, so each character emerges as an authentic individual, flawed yet lovable, and readers will find themselves drawn by the heartstrings into their complex lives." –The Bulletin, Starred
"Thorough characterization and artful prose allow readers to intimately experience the highs and lows of these three friends .... Recommended for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell." –SLJ