The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

25739107The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

Published March 8th 2016 by Crown Books for Young Readers

384 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life—at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.

The only antidote to all this venom is his friendship with fellow outcasts Travis and Lydia. But as they are starting their senior year, Dill feels the coils of his future tightening around him. The end of high school will lead to new beginnings for Lydia, whose edgy fashion blog is her ticket out of their rural Tennessee town. And Travis is happy wherever he is thanks to his obsession with the epic book series Bloodfall and the fangirl who may be turning his harsh reality into real-life fantasy. Dill’s only escapes are his music and his secret feelings for Lydia—neither of which he is brave enough to share. Graduation feels more like an ending to Dill than a beginning. But even before then, he must cope with another ending—one that will rock his life to the core.

Debut novelist Jeff Zentner provides an unblinking and at times comic view of the hard realities of growing up in the Bible Belt, and an intimate look at the struggles to find one’s true self in the wreckage of the past.

Review: I apologize in advance for what will probably be a gushy, rambling review.  I finished this book in the beginning of March and I’m just now giving the review a shot after letting the story sink in.  I signed up to participate in Stefani @ Caught Read Handed‘s traveling ARC tour of The Serpent King.  It was such a cool thing to be involved with.  She took her personal ARC and mailed it to one person and then that person mailed it to the next, and so on.  We were all encouraged to add our own page flags to the parts of the book that spoke to us so it was fun seeing everyone’s flags by the time it got around to me.  I started it right away, but because of my California trip I had to put it on hold for a bit.

Once I was able to pick it up again, I couldn’t put it down.  Check out my Goodreads status updates:

02/26     marked as:          currently-reading

02/26     page 73      19.0%    “This book is great so far. I am                                                                                            loving Dill and Travis especially.”

03/09     page 110    28.0%

03/10     page 151     39.0%    “Almost teared up when Lydia’s dad                                                                                was talking to her about Travis and                                                                                  his dad. I think Travis is definitely                                                                                    my favorite of the three.”

03/10     page 195    50.0%

03/10     page 247   64.0%    “Omg I have a really bad feeling                                                                                          about this!! My heart is racing!”

03/10     page 254   66.0%    “My heart has just been torn from                                                                                      my body and stomped on.”

03/10     marked as:          read

Travis was definitely my favorite character.  But at the same time, all three of them really spoke to me and it felt like they all had pieces that I really connected with.  I think that almost anyone in the world could relate to the feelings that these characters have at one point or another.

The trouble that Dill goes through in his small town because of what happened with his crazy father is so rough.  For about the first half of the book, I didn’t care much for Lydia.  She seemed a little selfish and it really bugged me that she would never talk about Dill or Travis on her blog because of who they were and what they were like.  But after halfway through I began to understand her more and feel more connected to her character.

This story was so heartbreaking and 100% real.  I had so many emotions throughout this book.  It is definitely one of my favorite books now.  Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from the book.

“If you’re going to live, you might as well do painful, brave, and beautiful things.”
Jeff Zentner, The Serpent King

“How is it every time we’re talking about the real world, you manage to bring up fantasy, and every time we’re talking about fantasy, you manage to bring up the real world?

Travis shrugged. “My fantasies are more interesting than the real world and machines and tools are more interesting than you guys’ fantasies.”
Jeff Zentner, The Serpent King

If you haven’t picked up a copy of this book yet, you need to because it is very good!

5 Stars

Top Ten Recent 5 Star Reads

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: 10 Of My Most Recent 5 Star Reads.

For this post, I opened up my Goodreads to My Books and sorted my Read shelf by date read.  Then I looked and pulled the first 10 books to come up that I rated 5 stars.  My 10 come from December through March.  I did not include any of my audiobook rereads though.  These are all books that I read physical copies of for the first time.


  • Shattered Blue by Lauren Bird Horowitz – If you pay any attention to my blog at all, you will know how much I love this book!  I’m currently re-reading it for the 3rd time and loving it all over again.
  • Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins – This book  was so cute!  I loved Isla and Josh and their story.  Plus I also loved having the characters from the other two books included in the story.
  • The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon – My love for the Outlander series knows no bounds.  The 5th book in the series was so good and filled with so many of the things that I love about this series.  Plus you just can’t go wrong with James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser.
  • I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga – This book was awesome!  I was in the mood for an exciting thriller and this book totally delivered!
  • November 9 by Colleen Hoover – My first full length CoHo book made me an instant fan of her writing.  This was so much more than just a romance.


  • Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover – After reading November 9, I hoped that any of her books I read after that wouldn’t let me down… and she pulled through.  Ugly Love was even better than November 9!
  • Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover – This book totally blew me away.  I finally posted my review of it yesterday and immediately wanted to start reading it again.  SO GOOD!
  • Game by Barry Lyga – Sometimes it is hard to find a sequel that is as good or better than the first book.  But Game was exactly that.  So much better than the first book, I Hunt Killers!  This took the thrill from the first book and amplified it x10!
  • The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner – This book was fantastic.  The characters and the writing were so real!  This book broke my heart and put it back together again.
  • Truthwitch by Susan Dennard – I had read an advance excerpt of this awhile ago but finally got around to reading the full book earlier this month.  It was so good!  I couldn’t put it down.  I loved the two main characters and the entire world that the author built.  I can’t wait to read more in this series in the future.


What are some of your most recent 5 star reads?

WWW Wednesday – March 2, 2016

WWWWednesday Logo

WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words.
Each week we answer the following three questions:
-What have you recently finished reading?
-What are you currently reading?
-What are you reading next?

Well it’s been a pretty slow reading week for me as I’ve been getting ready for California and binge watching Pretty Little Liars to catch up to Bird so we can discuss the show as it happens in real time!  I’m totally late to the PLL party and I wish I had started this show earlier because it is so addicting.  I’m up to season 5 now and things are crazier than ever.  So reading has kind of taken a back seat this week.  I have not finished any books since last week, which for once I’m not that upset about.  Since I didn’t finish any books my formatting for today will be a little different than the norm.

The books I am currently reading are so far really great!

25834889I am working on an eARC of The Progeny by Tosca Lee.  It is a story about a descendant of Elizabeth Bathory, labeled by the Guiness World Records as the most prolific female serial killer.  I am completely fascinated by all things Bathory and although I haven’t gotten to the point of the story where any connections are made I am enjoying this book.  So far the beginning reminds me a lot of one of my favorite movies of all time – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  The MC wakes up in a remote cabin in Maine after having gone through a procedure to erase her memory.  I’m really looking forward to having time to read this on the plane on Friday and while I wait for my connecting flight in Denver on my 3 hour layover!


26136490I am also reading Blonde Eskimo by Kristen Hunt.  I am a little less than halfway through it but I find the story to be interesting and engaging.  Within the past 5 years or so my interest in all things Alaska have really grown so this book is perfect with different legends and lore about the native people of Alaska.  I will also have the great fortune of hanging out with Kristen this weekend when we are all out there to celebrate and support our friend’s book, Shattered Blue!  So far, Blonde Eskimo is about a girl named Neiva who comes to spend her senior year of high school living with her grandmother on the island of Spirit off the coast of Alaska.  Even before she sets foot on the island, strange things start to happen.


22752127And the third book I am reading is an ARC of The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner.  I am participating in Stefani @ Caught Read Handed‘s ARC tour.  It’s pretty awesome!  She set up this tour to pass along her personal copy and as each person reads it, they had their own page flags to the book and then pass it on to the next person.  It’s cool seeing what parts speak to different people.  The first day I got it, I couldn’t stop reading it!  It was so good.  I love the three main characters – Dill, Lydia, and Travis.  I can’t wait to continue reading this book and pass it on to the next person.  I have already pre-ordered this book and can’t wait to have a hardcover for my permanent collection.


So those are all of the books I am currently reading!  I anticipate still reading them over the next week so I am not going to put forth any Up Next titles.  I fly out on Friday morning and won’t be back until late Monday night so you can also expect a little hiatus from me here as well.  On Monday you can finally read my review of Best of My Love by Susan Mallery, the final book in the best selling Fool’s Gold series.

What have you been reading lately?