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The Serpent King

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4.19  ·  Rating details ·  11,564 Ratings  ·  2,935 Reviews
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
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Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published March 8th 2016 by Crown Books for Young Readers/Random House
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Supriya Given this is set in a small town in the South, there is some fundamentalism (actually pentecostals speaking in tongues) but that is only one…moreGiven this is set in a small town in the South, there is some fundamentalism (actually pentecostals speaking in tongues) but that is only one character. The author has beautifully shown the diversity within the three characters and how very different their background, ideals and outlook on life is, despite having grown up in the same town.

It doesn't matter who you are, where you come from, and definitely has nothing to do with theism/atheism - it is a simple story of people from different backgrounds fighting for what they believe in, and fighting to create a better life for themselves being true to who they are. They fight to not let guilt and whether it is family, religion, society, beliefs, get in the way of their happiness and peace. Such a brilliant book!(less)
Brandy I would say yes. I have read some "YA" books that I have blushed at, but this one is very suitable and age appropriate for a mature 14 year old…moreI would say yes. I have read some "YA" books that I have blushed at, but this one is very suitable and age appropriate for a mature 14 year old reader. (less)
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Community Reviews

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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
This book just knocked a whole lot of books down on my favorites list and it's a young adult book. It's one of my top books ever and I'm terrified to review it because I'm so scared that I can't do it any justice and I want everyone to read this book.

People live quiet lives and that's okay. There's dignity in that, no matter what you may think.

Set in a rural Tennessee small town that was named after a big wig in the KKK the story takes place over one year. One year in the life of three teenager
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Matthew
Warning: This review will risk some controversy! Just remember if you read it that I approach everything with an open mind and that I know that my opinion does not match everyone’s – meaning I know that we are all different and I would not argue with people on here to prove that my opinion is correct.

Overall, I thought this was a great book. It was very easy to read. The story was creative and the characters were interesting. At times, emotions ran high and it hit my feels in all the right place
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Wendy Darling
This felt very much like a debut, and unfortunately, none of the characters or story arcs surprised me or touched me nearly as much as they were supposed to. Best to sample this if you're curious, as I think you can tell fairly early on if the writing style suits you.

Apparently I'm the black sheep on this one, though. Baaaaa!

A review copy was provided by the publisher.

A Note to Those Who Think This Book is Amazing: This is one of those books that seems like a magnet for people who loved it to co
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Jeff Zentner
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I wrote this book, and I'm giving it five stars--not because I think it's a flawless book. Rather, because in it, I was able to say exactly what I wanted to say, tell the exact story I needed to tell, and because Dill, Lydia, and Travis were born into the world exactly as they came to me in my mind.

I'm giving it five stars because it has resulted in my meeting the most amazing people--readers, booksellers, teachers, librarians, bloggers, reviewers, other authors--and making some of the best frie
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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
THIS. FREAKING. BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



I loved it sooooooooooooooo much. It broke my freaking heart and gave me joy and broke my heart some more. It's just so wonderful! And the feels in this book are beyond what I can say in my pitiful little review. All I know is if you have been meaning to read this book and have been putting if off, READ IT - you just might find it as wonderful as I did.

The main characters are, Dill, Travis and Lydia and I love them so much! They are so
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Lola  Reviewer
‘‘The Serpent King’’ is absolutely captivating.

It’s sad but it’s also very inspiring. Jeff Zentner wrote a debut novel here worthy of your shelves, time and attention.

It’s original in a way that is realistic. The characters—Dill, Lydia and Travis—have an authentic voice. They are quite different one from the other, yet they are as thick as thieves.

Dill is a musician, struggling daily with the effects of the sins of his father, literally. His father whom is now behind bars.

Travis’s brother die
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C.G. Drews
THERE ARE NO WORDS TO DESCRIBE HOW FREAKING AMAZING THIS BOOK IS AND HOW MUCH I ADORE IT. Well, wait. I will use words. Psychotic words most likely BUT WORDS because omg I loved this book so much. It is gut-wrenching and precious and inspiring and hopeful and balances darkness and hope using some of the best storytelling I've experienced in a long time. There is not enough FLAILING in the world for how much I want to FLAIL RIGHT NOW.

Shout out to this book for existing! Shout out to it for smashi
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jessica
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘if youre going to live, you might as well do painful, brave, and beautiful things.’

if you asked me what i took away from this story, it would be the importance of living life with dignity and courage. the courage to be yourself. the courage to forge your own path. the courage to leave for better things. the courage to stand up for yourself and others. the courage to question what you believe. the courage to do what scares you. and most importantly, the courage to live life. we could all do be
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Annet
And if you're going to live, you might as well do painful, brave and beautiful things...

Great book, heartbreaker & feelgood... review to follow. First, to work!
....Home from work! But tired...I'm not as young as the main character youngsters in this book :-) I'll tell this: the book was wonderful until about 60%, then I lost a bit of interest, and it picked up again in the end. Four stars! Story of three young friends final year in college, going to university and knowing they will go their
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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

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

A week or so ago I claimed that it would be hard to top Dark Matter as my best read of 2016. Turns out I lied. It wasn’t that hard at all. Once again Shelby (or more specifically, her NetGalley addiction) gets the credit for putting this one on my radar. She’s a horrible old bitty like me and rarely gives out the 5 Stars so when she raved about The S
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Lori
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another great coming of age story!
Warning contents may contain spoilers!
The religious beliefs are part of the background. I didn't get the impression that the author was anti-Christian, nor even especially opposed to snake handling as an expression of faith. There are communities where it is a demonstration of belief. Dill's life is in one. In a lot of ways, it’s the least of his problems. His father is Pastor Early.
It had thoroughly scandalized Forestville, Tennessee when Pastor Early of the Ch
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Ɗắɳ  2.☊
Some reviews—a pitiful few—seem to write themselves, while others require extensive time to collect my thoughts, or a knock-down drag-out battle with procrastination. But once in a blue moon, I stumble across a story like this one that’s another animal altogether.

After finishing this book, rather than posting a timely review like a decent little goodreader, I instead teased out an absurd question, “Do I dare slap five stars on a silly little young adult story?” Well . . . now that my emotional
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Larry H
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Life is pretty tough for Dill Early. It wasn't always easy growing up as the son of a controversial Pentecostal minister who, along with members of his congregation, handled rattlesnakes and drank poison. But when his father runs afoul of the law and winds up in prison, life gets even harder for Dill. He must deal with the constant bullying of his high school classmates and the suspicion and cruel treatment of former church members and others in his small town of Forrestville, Tennessee.

The futu
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Giselle (Book Nerd Canada)
A finished copy was provided by the publisher for review.

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
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Adam Silvera
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
This book will punch you in the heart. In a good way. A punch to the heart isn't usually a good idea, but it is here. THE SERPENT KING is a literary knockout pulsing with faith, tragedy, and hope.
Trina (Between Chapters)
Edited to add: I've since let my friends spoil me on what happened in the end of this book and it makes me so glad that I DNFed it. I was about 7 pages away from the meat of the plot being introduced. I definitely stand by my original opinion that this book was terribly plotted if I had no clue what the book was about when I quit, over halfway through. The stereotypes and lack of depth present make me feel confident in rating this 1 star. You may find quality here, but I personally didn't.

Addit
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may ❀
Full review posted:

I have no idea how I’m going to convey all the feelings this book gave me into coherent words…do I really have to??

Times are simpler when no one hates you because of your name and it doesn’t occur to you to be ashamed of it.

This book tells the story of our three characters:
1) An internet famous fashion icon who is unapologetically herself
2) A tragic boy shackled in his father’s shadow
3) A burly lumberjack of a boy who is made from marshmallow and sprinkles and deserves ever
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Fares
May 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Still as perfect as I remember it to be, perfect in that heart-wrenching way my heart loves and doesn't seem to get enough of :)

-----------------------------------------------
Buddy reread with Y'all are missing if you're not buddy reading with this girl
Zoeytron
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Every school has them, kids that don't readily fit in with everyone else. In The Serpent King, we have three teens in their final year of high school, Travis, Dill, and Lydia, who have become fast friends, drawn together by their otherness. They are the irregular weaves, used to being the butt of jokes and providing target practice for bullies, the proverbial square pegs who are never going to fit into the round holes that house their classmates so well.

Dill's mother is a bible-thumping nightmar
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Councillor
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone who can read
When I opened this book, I expected a lot of things, but never would I have thought that it was going to receive a place among my absolute favorite books, with the definite guarantee of rereading this one day (maybe I should mention here that I hardly ever reread a book).

The Serpent King is Jeff Zentner's debut novel, and what a novel it is. He has been a guitarist and songwriter, having released five albums before focusing his attention on writing novels for young adults. But this novel doesn't
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❄️Nani❄️
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


This was SUCH an emotionally taxing read!!! ughhhh

I’m so drained and no chapter’d ever made me cry quite like a certain chapter in here.

It was a beautiful poignant read but I did not care for the excessive amount of christian baiting.
Laurie Flynn
Nov 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My bordering-on-rabid desire to read this book has been well documented. To the point where every time I saw it praised on social media, I became ever-so-slightly bitter that I hadn’t yet read it. So when I attended the ALA conference last weekend and saw ARCs, I grabbed one right away. I also squealed in a decidedly unprofessional manner (there were witnesses). I started reading on the plane home because I couldn’t wait any longer.

I had heard the writing was powerful, original, masterful. It i
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Jenny
People are born and die. Seasons change. Rivers flow to the sea. Earth circles the sun and the moon circles Earth. Everything whirring and spinning toward something. And I get to be part of it for a little while, the way I get to watch a train for a minute or two, and then it's gone.”

I can't remember the last time a book had left such a strong impression on me. This is, no doubt, one of the best books I've read this year, and I will also go as far as to say that this has become my all time fav
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Rick Riordan
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Heartbreaking, uplifting, genuine and beautiful — those are the first words that come to mind about The Serpent King. The story revolves around three very different friends growing up in Forrestville, Tennessee. (Or Forestville, as our female protagonist insists on calling it, since the town was named after Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forrest, so ‘the extra r stands for racist.’) Lydia has the most functional family in our trio of heroes. Her folks are comfortably well-off. They support and love ...more
 ⚔ Sh3lly ⚔
Mar 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommended to ⚔ Sh3lly ⚔ by: Kelly and Shelby
This is a coming of age story that alternates POV between a small group of friends: Dill, who comes from one of those crazy snake churches, Travis, who is obsessed with a fantasy series and carries a staff around, and Lydia, who comes from one of the wealthier families in the area and writes a popular blog.

They live in a small, mostly poor Southern town and are seniors, and trying to figure out what's going to come after high school. This had a "Southern Gothic" vibe to it, which means it was de
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abby
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"And if you're going to live, you might as well do painful, brave, and beautiful things."

Dill can't seem to escape the sins of his father and grandfather. He even shares their name. His father was a Pentecostal minister who encouraged his congregation to handle rattlesnakes and drink poison to demonstrate their true faith-- until he went to jail for child pornography. His grandfather was the legendary Serpent King, who became obsessed with the reptiles after one bit and killed his beloved daught
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Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Fuck. This book is going to stick with me for a long, long time. I'm currently bouncing back and forth between giving this a 4 or a 5 star review, but for now I think I'm going to give it the full 5 stars. I just. Man. This book was heavy. So, so heavy.
Maria (Big City Bookworm)


4.5 Stars

"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."

The Serpent King is one of those books that just came out of nowhere. I had heard nothing about it prior to its release, but the second it came out, everyone started talking about it. Whether it was fellow book blog
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Roshani Chokshi
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
You may have already heard that Zentner's THE SERPENT KING will twist your heart. This is true. But there is more. This entire book is a held breath. It's about things in flux. The beasts that anchor us to the life we know and the life we wish to live. THE SERPENT KING has the perfect title too — Otherworldly and fabled. That's exactly how those last few months leading up to highschool graduation feel. You are parsing apart your autumns, letting nostalgia tease out brighter colors in your world ...more
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1,129 followers
Jeff Zentner lives in Nashville, Tennessee. He came to writing through music, starting his creative life as a guitarist and eventually becoming a songwriter. He’s released five albums and appeared on recordings with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Thurston Moore, Debbie Harry, Mark Lanegan, and Lydia Lunch, among others.

Now he writes novels for young adults. He became interested in writing for
...more
More about Jeff Zentner

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“If you're going to live, you might as well do painful, brave, and beautiful things.” 154 likes
“Nothing makes you feel more naked than someone identifying a desire you never knew you possessed.” 74 likes
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