★★★★★ · book review

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

This review is spoiler free, proceed with reckless abandon!

PScreen Shot 2016-01-16 at 3.13.01 PMublisher: Crown Books/Random House
Genre: YA Contemporary/Realistic Fiction
Edition: Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC)
Release Date: March 8th, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

Triggers: depression, suicidal thoughts

I received this ARC from the publisher via the lovely people at my local indie bookstore. The following is my honest review based on said uncorrected proof copy.

Short Summary:

Dill is the brooding and intense musician best known as the son of the jailed, serpent wielding preacher. Lydia is the confident yet insecure fashion blogger hell bent on getting out of Tennessee. Travis is the fantasy reading, staff carrying, and soft hearted son of an alcoholic father. They are best friends and outcasts in their small town of Forrestville, Tennessee. This book is about their senior year of high school. It is about growing together and growing apart. Finally, it is about family, friendship, love, loss, faith, and courage.

What I Thought:

I didn’t just like The Serpent King, I loved it! I flew through this book and was completely enthralled with it! The book is told from the POV of each main character Dill, Lydia, and Travis. Each perspective felt so different that it was never hard to remember whose head you were in.You also can’t help but fall in love with the minor characters, such as Amelia and Lydia’s dad, because they have so much personality and add so much to the story.

Jeff Zentner has created amazing character that are now among some of my favorites (especially Travis because we fandom people have to stick together) and his writing is so beautiful and atmospheric. Seriously, I could read or listen to Jeff describing Tennessee or practically anything else for that matter if he describes it the way Dill talks about the view from the Column or the reasons he watches trains.

Adam Silvera said I would and I did get my “heart punched” by Jeff Zentner. I don’t cry for many characters in books, and there have only been a handful of books that have made me cry. The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Looking for Alaska, Eleanor & Park, and I’ll Give You the Sun are the top five that I can think of. It takes a very, very good book to make me that engrossed in the lives of fictional characters that I cry for them as if they actually exist, and this book did that. I was in full on tears! Obviously there were other emotions throughout the book as well, it made me happy, sad, angry, and any other variation on those emotions that can possibly be made because I was that invested in the story.

I don’t really want to talk about anything else because I don’t want to give too much away. I would love to quote parts of the book but I will just mention that I have 25 post it flags in there marking some of the moments and quotes that really hit me while reading. I sincerely hope you go check this book out in March when it is released!

Who Would I Recommend This To?

Fans of Rainbow Rowell for sure! Also anyone that enjoys a good contemporary, realistic fiction novel from time-to-time. Even if you don’t really like contemporary novels but you want to read a beautifully written book about three young people trying to navigate their lives as their own person separate from their parents. I am almost certain there is something you can relate to in this book. I would like to add that there is a trigger warning for depression and suicidal thoughts.

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