Five Star Book Review: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner!!!

Posted May 27, 2016 by Nori in Book Reviews / 17 Comments


Wow. I will admit that when I originally heard about The Serpent King, I didn’t think it was a “me” book. But, all of my friends were raving about it, and I saw it at ALAMW, so I figured that I would give it a shot. Let’s just say that I am THRILLED that I decided to read it, because it was amazing. I am sure that this is going to go down as one of my favorite books from 2016- YES it was that good.

Let me first talk about the characters- Dill, Lydia, and Travis. They were all misfits, people who were scorned by their peers for being weird, but to me, they were perfect. All of them had their hardships; none of them had an easy life. But, they didn’t let that stop them from dreaming. THE SERPENT KING is a coming of age story, a book that all teens should read. I am positive that everyone, no matter who they are, will be able to find something to relate to in one of the three characters.

Dill grew up in an extremely religious household. His father was a pastor, so you’d imagine that he had a pretty rule abiding family- but you would be wrong. Dill’s father was actually in jail due to charges of having pornographic material found on his computer. To make matters worse, Dill’s mother was annoyed at Dill because he didn’t take the blame for his father’s mistake. Imagine living like that- living in a house where you’re barely making rent, with a mother who doesn’t love you, and being surrounded 24/7 by your father’s shadow. It’s no wonder that Dill is extremely depressed and has no self confidence.

Travis had an even worse life- his father was an alcoholic, and often took out his anger on Travis. His parents were a strange pair- his father, the star quarterback and bully in high school, and his mother, the sweet cheerleader who was friends with everyone. Back then, everyone thought that his mom would help mellow his father out, but apparently that didn’t work out. Every time that Travis’ father was in a scene, he made me sick to my stomach. I felt awful. Travis didn’t deserve that. No one deserves that.

Now, onto Lydia. Oh my gosh- I LOVED Lydia. I honestly can see her being one of my close friends. She was a fashionista who started her own blog (yes a blogger :D) and she had hundreds of thousands of followers. She was famous to the point of being interviewed in the New York Times! But, just because her online life was great doesn’t mean anything about her real life. People at school hated her, and tried bullying her (along with Dill and Travis). Surprisingly, these were some of my favorite moments in the book, because this is where she showed off her sassy side. She was perfect. She didn’t let anyone else tell her what she should do; instead, she stood up for herself and for her friends. Her loyalty (and sassiness) made me smile and laugh multiple times while reading.

Okay, now that you’ve met the characters, I guess I can tell you a little bit about why this book really stood out to me. As I mentioned above, the characters were extremely complex, and I adored them. They constantly made decisions that I never saw coming, and I loved watching them grow up and mature into who they became at the end.

Also, there was one moment in particular where something came out of nowhere, and shocked me. I had to read the page three times in order to confirm that what I read was true. I’m not going to tell you what happened, but let’s just say that there is no way that you can figure it out until it happens, and it will blow your mind. It is insane. Jeff Zentner took a risk by putting it in the novel, and the risk paid off. Wow. I’m still recovering from it actually.

I’d also like to share one of my favorite quotes! Believe me when I say there were tons of quotes that I simply adored (and you can check out my GR status updates for more), but this one in particular really stood out to me.

“She’s it. She’s my everything. She’s the standard by which I’ll judge beauty for the rest of my life. I’ll measure every touch to her breath on my skin. Every voice to her voice. Every mind to her mind. My measure of perfection. The name carved into me. If I could, I would lie with her under these stars until my heart burst.” 

Overall, if you couldn’t tell, I absolutely LOVED this book, and suggest that you hop online right NOW and buy it. It’s incredible. You NEED it!


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17 responses to “Five Star Book Review: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner!!!

  1. I wasn’t too interested in this one, and I didn’t think it was my type of book, but now I’m going to try it! It’s been a while since I read a gritty realistic fiction, and The Serpent King could be just what I need. I’m glad you liked it so much 😀 Lydia sounds like my kind of girl, and I think it’ll be really interesting to see how a pastor’s son is portrayed. I also love the quote at the end. If you liked this one, you might want to try one of my favorites. It’s The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin. Such a great book, and the narrative is unique as well.

    Great review!

    • YAY!!! I really didn’t think that it was going to be my type of book either, and I hope that you’re pleasantly surprised just like me! Let me know when you read it! Also, thanks for the rec! I’ll check it out. 🙂

  2. Wow! Glad to see you really liked this one. I have the same impression as you did first, but now I’m thinking of picking up my copy soon and giving it a read…great review!! 😀

  3. Sierra

    This one was on sale a while back for $1.99, so I bought it. Haven’t read it yet, but I’m looking forward to it!

  4. Nori I have to disagree with you on Lydia. I dislike her with a passion. It’s one thing to be ambitious and want explore the world beyond your town you grew up in but she didn’t need to be disrespectful and didn’t need to look down on Dill and Travis. She was too self-absorbed to me. Also I don’t like how the author did one of the characters and you knows who I’m talking about. There was no need to do that. But overall the book was a decent read for me.

    Great review!

  5. This book sounds amazing! I think I’m in the same boat as you, where when I first read the synopsis, I didn’t really fancy it, and I’m not sure if it will be the book for me. But now you’ve made me seriously consider it! I really enjoy coming of age stories, and this one sounds more interesting than others, so I’m thinking I will enjoy it. The setting sounds original for me too! Thank you for the recommendation <3

    Denise | The Bibliolater

  6. This book sounds really good! I’ve heard the title before but didn’t know at all what it was about. I’ll definitely check it out. But that author really likes to put his characters in the awfulest family situations, doesn’t he?

  7. I keep seeing this book but had no idea what it was about or if it was even good xD but I do love the title! From what you said, it sounds amazing! I’ll have to move it up on my TBR list.

  8. This one sounds amazing! I have been seeing a few reviews for it around and it seems like people everywhere are loving it – this book can do no wrong. I already have it on my TBR and am looking forward to reading and reviewing it so much 😀

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