The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

The Serpent King

by Jeff Zentner

Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal
Winner of the American Library Association Morris Award for best debut YA
Winner of the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award for Young Adult Fiction
A Buzzfeed Best of 2016 book
Goodreads Choice Awards finalist
A Barnes & Noble Best Book of 2016
Publishers Weekly Best of 2016

Dill is a misfit in his small, religious Tennessee town. His dad is in prison for a shocking crime, and his mom is struggling to make ends meet. The only things getting Dill through senior year are his guitar and his fellow outcasts, Travis and Lydia.

Travis is an oddball who finds comfort from his violent home life in an epic fantasy book series. And Lydia is like no one else: fast-talking, creative and fiercely protective. Dill fears his heart will break when she escapes to a better life elsewhere. What Dill needs now is some bravery to tell Lydia how he feels, to go somewhere with his music – and to face the hardest test of all when tragedy strikes.

Reviewed by Joséphine on

4 of 5 stars

Initial thoughts: The Serpent King surprised me. When the cover was first released last year, I expected it to be science fiction. Only when reviews started popping up did it register that it's a work of contemporary fiction. The font and the title sure had me fooled. A couple of days ago I was looking for an audiobook of a book I don't already own, and decided to give The Serpent King a go. I didn't pay much attention to the synopsis and neither did I expect to be punched quite so hard in the gut. This is quite a story of survival, independence, relationships and personal beliefs among three best friends. It hurt so much but also offered hope and optimism about the future as a salve.

Last modified on

Reading updates

  • Started reading
  • 2 February, 2017: Finished reading
  • 2 February, 2017: Reviewed