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The Serpent King  By  cover art

The Serpent King

By: Jeff Zentner
Narrated by: Michael Crouch,Ariadne Meyers,Ethan Sawyer
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Publisher's 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.

He and his fellow outcast friends must try to make it through their senior year of high school without letting the small-town culture destroy their creative spirits and sense of self. Graduation will lead to new beginnings for Lydia, whose edgy fashion blog is her ticket out of their rural Tennessee town. And Travis is content where he is thanks to his obsession with an epic book series and the fangirl turning his reality into real-life fantasy.

Their diverging paths could mean the end of their friendship. But not before Dill confronts his dark legacy to attempt to find a way into the light of a future worth living.

Includes the song “Birds Fly South”, performed by the author and Elin Palmer.

©2016 Jeff Zentner (P)2016 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

"The Serpent King is a book you won’t be able to resist or forget. The Southern boy in me savored every syllable and the reader in me fell in love with every page.” (John Corey Whaley, National Book Award finalist and Printz Award winner)

"The Serpent King gripped me in its coils and kept me turning pages late into the night. A triumph of love and dignity." (Stephanie Perkins, New York Times best-selling author)

"Zentner combines the melancholy of being 17 with the melancholy present in the best of Southern fiction and gives us a novel that will fill the infinite space that was left in your chest after you finished The Perks of Being a Wallflower." (BookRiot)

What listeners say about The Serpent King

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Once and future king

I never expected a book to hit me this hard. I felt so close to the characters and cried with them. Excellent is doesn't even begin to tell you what I thought about this book.

4 people found this helpful

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Southern Honesty

This is the story about three young people who find a family in each other, at one of the most pivotal times of life. It is also a story about believing that we are all born with a gift. We can either chose to bravely accept it, or fearfully ignore it. It is a story about respecting the life that was given to you, and not being afraid to live it.

3 people found this helpful

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Well Done

A friend of mine recommended that I read this book, so I did the next best thing and listened to it. The trio of narrators did an excellent job. Each read chapters from a different character's view point and it worked out incredibly well.

Without spoiling anything, The Serpent King is a story about a young man who must overcome a lot to better himself and his family. Zentner does an excellent job of portraying the pressure from family to work full time and not go to college. As someone, that has experience working with low income first generation college students, this family pressure absolutely exists.

I highly recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Spectacular!

This book is in the top three of all fiction I have listened too. The characters are real and personal, the story line is sensitive and deep, the overall experience is light and enjoyable. I was drawn back like a decadent dessert for bite after bite.

1 person found this helpful

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A modern, perfect coming of age story

Zentner perfectly encapsulates the experience of growing up in the South and wanting to escape small town life for something greater. His characters are realistically rendered and heart-wrenchingly relatable. Recommended for the misfit in all of us!

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Good for YA audience

Good story with (3) interesting and sympathetic main characters. The narrators were good.
I appreciated that the story doesn't have a HEA ( happily ever after) ending.

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Damn

Damn this book. Taught me a thing or two about simplicity in narrative. So good.

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Sweetly raw

Great story that dives into high school, emotions, fears, loss, parents, friendships, and more. Zentner is a wonderful story writer who makes his audience believe him: believe he knows what he is talking about and that the words and feelings are true. We are not the whispers behind our backs. Those whispers do not define us.

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A bit of a snooze. Small town people.

I decided about halfway through this book to stop at the start chapter 23 and 54. the character just decided for my tryout for the talent here. and I realized I was really bored. it's mostly just about people living small lives and small town and ultimately I just didn't find it very interesting. this is some of the characters developed and there was some hints towards something maybe special or dark regarding the serpent King but to be honest it really wasn't explored enough in the first half of this book for me to get interested. it just seems like a guy passed around snakes at his congregation, nothing more. I'm going to listen to some reviews to do whatever the people like about this book, for me I'd say overall it's a snooze. I really liked how the characters dialogue was written. it reminded me of Stephen King in some ways. the author did a great job of humanizing everyone and I felt like they were all real people. maybe that's kind of boring part because I'm not really interesting here but some random people's lives guess I'd want there to be some more plot. sometimes I refer to the term plot pull which means sufficient plot to draw you to trying to page. I wouldn't say that it is enough thoughtful needs to remove the carry me forward days. it's mostly just reading it to read it and nothing quite hooked me. I'm not really interested in the highschool romance side plot that's developing. I feel I've heard it too many times.

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Just wow

This book was absolutely amazing. It had me in tears. I felt so connected to these characters. Definitely read this book!