The Serpent King

Jeff Zentner. Crown, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-553-52402-4
Forrestville, Tenn., named after Ku Klux Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forrest, isn’t exactly a welcome place for slightly ouside-the-mainstream folks like friends Dillard, Lydia, and Travis. Dill is a high school senior whose snake-handling preacher father is currently incarcerated; Lydia, a successful fashion blogger, plans on attending NYU after graduation; and Travis, large of body and gentle of soul, loses himself (and the pain of his father’s physical and emotional abuse) in a fantasy series called Bloodfall. While Dill finds comfort and beauty in music, Travis’s innate kindness belies his circumstances, and Lydia’s incandescent, gleefully offbeat personality draws them together. As the novel, Zentner’s debut, builds to a shocking act of violence that shatters the friends’ world, this 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. Zentner explores difficult themes head on—including the desire to escape the sins of the father and the fragility of happiness—while tempering them with the saving grace of enduring friendship. Ages 14–up. Agent: Charlie Olsen, Inkwell Management. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/14/2015
Release date: 03/08/2016
Library Binding - 384 pages - 978-0-553-52403-1
Compact Disc - 978-0-14-752131-6
Compact Disc - 978-0-14-752133-0
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-77049-884-6
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-1-77049-883-9
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-553-52405-5
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