Monday, February 27, 2017

The Serpent King

Do you need to cry? Really hard and for a long time? Then may I introduce you to Jeff Zentner's The Serpent King? I haven't read a book like it, and that's always a good thing.

It tells the story of three outcasts in rural Tennessee. Our protagonist is the son of a disgraced Pentecostal minister who handled snakes and is now in jail. Imagine bearing that load through high school. The best parts of his life are his two friends: Lydia, a fashion blogger headed to greatness, and Travis, a lovable giant who wears a dragon necklace and lives for fantasy novels. I enjoyed their friendship and the way they tried to protect each other from the many forces working against them.

While I felt this book deeply, I also felt that some parts didn't ring true. The teenagers were so eloquent and wise that it was unrealistic. While it made for beautiful reading, it didn't sound like any of the 11th graders that I know. For example, "I read somewhere that a lot of the stars we see don't exist anymore. They've already died and it's taken millions of years for their light to reach Earth," Dill said. "That wouldn't be a bad way to die," Lydia said. "Giving off light for millions of years after you're gone."

This is definitely grimmer than your standard YA fare, but it is a quality book that will leave you thinking about it long after finishing. 

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