October 22, 2019

#BookReview: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner


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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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.

Rating: 
My Review: So it looks like I am going to be one of the few people that just didn't enjoy this title.  I thought it was very choppy to start and very slow.  I ended up DNFing it around 50 pages and just couldn't do anymore.  The characters didn't grab me and the story/plot just seemed meh.  I felt that a lot of this story was very cliche'd. The writing just didn't work for me at all. 


Overall, it lacked depth and to me it felt very sloppy.  


A William C. Morris Award Winner
New York Times Notable Book
An Amazon Best Book of the Year
Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
BuzzFeed Best YA Book of the Year
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
Southern Living Best Book of the Year
An Indie Next List Top Ten Selection
Paste Magazine and popcrush.com Most Anticipated YA Book of the Year
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









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