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Publisher's Summary

Named One of the Best Children’s Books of the Year by the New York Times

From the award-winning author of The Serpent King comes a beautiful examination of grief, found family, and young love.

Life in a small Appalachian town is not easy. Cash lost his mother to an opioid addiction and his Papaw is dying slowly from emphysema. Dodging drug dealers and watching out for his best friend, Delaney, is second nature. He's been spending his summer mowing lawns while she works at Dairy Queen. 

But when Delaney manages to secure both of them full rides to an elite prep school in Connecticut, Cash will have to grapple with his need to protect and love Delaney, and his love for the grandparents who saved him and the town he would have to leave behind.

©2021 Jeff Zentner (P)2021 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

One of BuzzFeed's 2021 YA Books to Look Forward To
An Amazon Editor’s Pick for Best Young Adult Book of 2021
A Boston Globe Best Book of 2021
A New York Times pick for "The 25 Best Children’s Books of 2021"
An ALAN Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award Winner!
A Good Morning America YA Summer Beach Read Pick

“Notable is the warmth, physical affection, and gentleness between Cash and those he loves, while well-crafted poems throughout, written by Cash as he finds his voice, are evocative and moving, highlighting Zentner’s impressive skill with both poetry and prose.” —STARRED REVIEW, Publishers Weekly

 “A brilliant treasure of a book that holds up a mirror to the best parts of our humanity.” —STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews

What listeners say about In the Wild Light

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Great listen!! Amazing book accompanied by an amazing voice!! 💛

This book overall is an amazing read and 10 hours goes by like nothing with this book. The story has an amazing start with an introduction of these simple characters soon to be revealed to have a complex background. The story is very quick paced when it needs to be to draw tension yet slow when it needs show the thoughts looming over the main character, Cash. A mass amount of tension grows as a ticking time bomb of a plot grows and builds which draws in the listener. The novel will change your outlook on life as it deals with grief, thoughts of feeling small in a grandiose life, and growth.

The narrator, Michael Crouch, does an AMAZING read of this book, fully bringing in a wide range of characters alive, from simple Tennessee Cash to miss Vi from Brazil. He really knows how to build tension and show life and the absence of it in his voice.

Overall, amazing read 10/10 and worth that one credit!!! 💛🕺

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perfect story

Do not speed this up! This story and its narration deserve to be savored. I will revisit this one!

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Recommendations from friends

This is my first book by Jeff Zentner and it certainly won’t be my last. A friend recommended it to me and I am so glad I listened to him. It truly was incredible.

I have a love hate relationship with Audible. I love that it gives me the opportunity and convenience to consume more books but I hate that a book can be ruined for me with bad a bad narrator. Even if I enjoy the book, bad narration will make it difficult (and sometimes impossible) for me to finish. The narration of this book was phenomenal and I was able to focus entirely on the story and pure poetry of words at times.

I rarely leave reviews. I either have to love something or hate something and I’d like to think I am discerning on both sides of that equation. This is definitely something I loved.

If you don’t have a friend in your life who takes the time to recommend books to you, let me be that friend. You should read/listen to In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner. I think you’d really enjoy it.

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Finally, a book I can recommend

This is the first book that I have wanted to read (or listen to) more then once in a very long time. The writing is beautiful and quotable. My review will never do it justice, therefore, all I can do is recommend it to everyone I know and hope that one with better skills than I will write a proper review. This book is appropriate for all audiences that can handle frank talk of death.

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stunningly beautiful!

I love, love, love Michael Crouch's narration of Jeff Zetner's Beautifully poetic coming of age story. Zetner is one of my favorite authors and each book is better than the last. Crouch brings the story alive and is the absolute perfect voice for this book.

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Wow.

This was an amazing story of teen age life. How broken homes don't define you. You will cheer. You will laugh. You will stare in Awe. But you will cry. The kind of cry where tears roll down your cheeks as you listen. Wonderful story.

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Worth the credit

I enjoyed the story and looking forward to reading more by their author. Some parts were kinda wordy for me so I skipped over some but I enjoyed the plot characters- I cared for all of them and they were all flushed out perfectly

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Great Appalachian Rep!

This is a wonderful story about Appalachian strength, power, and the resilience of of the wild light! This book connects the power of words to the pain of our everyday lives. I’m thankful for this story.

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Beautiful work

Zentner captures grief and teen love in such a pure way. Highly recommend for readers of all ages.

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Unbelievable book

I loved this book. The narrator was perfect for the characters. The book was engaging from the first word to the last. It was so refreshing to see southern people portrayed as intelligent human beings! If I could it 5 I would.