Zentner, Jeff. The Serpent King. Crown: 2016.
image from: www.amazon.com
I enjoyed this book! The characters are real--so real that I was crying at one point while reading (which was a little embarrassing because I was at a volleyball tournament).
Dill(ard), Lydia and Travis are friends. They are entering their last year of high school and making plans for the next chapter. Dill will probably work full time at the grocery store to help his family pay bills. Lydia plans to leave Tennessee (as soon as she can!) and attend school in NYC and make her fashion blog even bigger (she already has thousands of followers) and Travis...well, Travis is just waiting for the next book in the Bloodfall series.
The story is told from all three character's points of view, but it's a blend of first and third person narration. It broke my heart reading about some of the "trials" of their lives, but these episodes make the characters believable. I think I've known all three of these kids several times over in my career.
Dill's family's story is the title reference (found on page 68). Does he have his "family blood" and end up like his grandfather (dead) or dad (prison)? Will Lydia's and Travis' friendship help him forge a different path?
I LOVED the Pathetic Prom scenes. SO FUNNY! I loved that Mr. Burson's "tiny museum of early editions of Faulkner, O'Connor, Welty and McCarthy" bookstore is included. (Zentner 124)
At times, there were summations included to push the story forward. I was bothered a little by this, as it seemed to gloss over or force the story. This wasn't too often, but I did notice it.
When I finished the book, I Tweeted out to the author, and he responded! I can't wait to meet him in a few weeks at the North Texas Teen Book Festival. Based on this book, I will read Zentner's other works.