Review: ‘The Serpent King’ by Jeff Zentner

I received this book for free from requested from publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: ‘The Serpent King’ by Jeff ZentnerThe Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
Published by Tundra Books on March 8th, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: requested from publisher
Dillard Early, Jr., Travis Bohannon and Lydia Blankenship are three friends from different walks of life who have one thing in common: none of them seem to fit the mold in rural Tennessee's Forrestville High. Dill has always been branded as an outsider due to his family heritage as snake handlers and poison drinkers, an essential part of their Pentecostal faith. But after his father is sent to prison for sexual abuse of a young parishioner, Dill and his mother become real pariahs. His only two friends are Travis, a gentle giant who works at his family's lumberyard and is obsessed with a Game of Thrones-like fantasy series (much to his alcoholic father's chagrin); and Lydia, who runs a popular fashion blog that's part Tavi Gevinson and part Angela Chase, and is actively plotting her escape from Redneckville, Tennessee.

As the three friends begin their senior year, it becomes clear that they won't all be getting to start a promising new life after graduation. How they deal with their diverging paths could cause the end of their friendship. Until a shattering act of random violence forces Dill to wrestle with his dark legacy and find a way into the light of a future worth living.

Chapters/IndigoThe Book DepositoryAmazon CanadaGood Reads



Told in the point of views of three characters Dill, Travis and Lydia, we have a story that is memorable, deep and tragic. Dill has a reputation trashed by his father. Travis has an obsession with a book series that is similar to Game of Thrones and Lydia is the smart sassy fashion blogger who wants nothing but to head out to college and leave the small Tennessee town behind.


I can’t even begin to write this review because I’m all choked up with emotions. I am so glad I’m not the black sheep.. So I have this thing where I don’t actually read what the descriptions are about (sometimes) and I did that with this book. I initially thought this would be some sort of rain-forest fantasy adventure based on the cover. Granted I didn’t see the silhouette of the kids on the bridge until later, so imagine to my surprise when I started reading it was a contemporary! Then I was hooked from the beginning. This rarely happens to me with realistic fiction so I pretty much gobbled it up in two sittings. It’s a little about religion, a lot about friendship, family and love. Definitely a coming-of-age story that will keep you glued to its pages. I know I was.


The book contains: some disgusting Un-Christian-like behaviour. I couldn’t help but cringe at times. There is swearing and even Homophobic slurs.. You will also have some of the most horrible parents as well as some of the best found in the book. Oh and I have to mention Lydia’s present to Travis? Probably every book nerd’s dream! I cried out of happiness when that part happened.


I can’t sing enough praises. LOVED this book to pieces. Jeff Zentner made these characters so real to me. Made me care about each and every one of them. Cried twice (at two certain parts) and couldn’t stop remembering all the emotions I felt while reading this. Highly recommended! One of my favourite and memorable treads of the year! Run and pick up your copy, I really hope you loved it as much as I did!


You ask for plenty without ever actually asking for it. (3)
Times are simpler when no one hates you because of your name and it doesn’t occur to you to be ashamed of it. (64)
Folks is afraid of grief. Think it’s catching, like a disease. (71)
You hate yourself for not being as brave as the people you love to read about. And you just want to be somewhere where no one makes you feel that way. (104)
You don’t need options in life. You need Jesus. (142)
Because we should do things we’re afraid of. It makes it easier every time we do it. (191)
We need to take care of each other from now on. We need to be each other’s family because ours are so messed up. We need to make better lives for ourselves. We gotta start doing stuff we’re afraid to do. (233)
I want you to be careful in this world. My heart is wrapped up in you. (270)
I’ve made books my life because they let me escape this world of cruelty and savagery. (277)
You won’t be living in a shitty small town anymore, where people try to make themselves feel better by making other people feel smaller. (314)

reading progress






  1. Cindy Taylor

    March 26, 2016 at 2:12 PM

    This book is amazing!! I balled like a baby a couple of times while reading it.

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