‘The Serpent King’ – Jeff Zentner

Travis, Lydia and Dill live in what can best be described as a claustrophobic Southern town. Preparing to leave high school we start with the three best friends caught up in their own personal issues.

None of them have great lives, and they all seem lost.

Dill is the only son of a Pentecostal minister who has had a very public fall from grace, which Dill is taunted about on a daily basis. He is in love with his best friend, Lydia, but cannot tell her how he feels. She is determined to escape their small town with her fashion blog. Travis lives in his own fantasy world, preferring it to the reality of the world he is faced with. None of these teenagers seems comfortable in their own skin, and they don’t seem as though they’ll work together. But they do.

I found the setting hard to take initially. The extreme religious focus, and the lack of understanding many of the characters show was really hard to take.

There came a point, as we start to get under the skin of the three characters, that I started to get more intrigued. Things didn’t always take the obvious route and this was one of those books that appealed to me in ways I wasn’t expecting.

Bleak in many ways, but there was an endearing sense of hope too.