Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on March 8, 2016
Source: the publisher
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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 are starting their senior year, Dill feels the coils of his future tightening around him. Dill's only escapes are his music and his secret feelings for Lydia, neither of which he is brave enough to share. Graduation feels more like an ending to Dill than a beginning. But even before then, he must cope with another ending- one that will rock his life to the core.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Told from three points of view, this book has the melancholy feel of a small town in the South. Dill, Travis, and Lydia-though very different in terms of opinions and wealth-all three are the best of friends in the sweetest of ways.
Dill’s struggle in finding his faith and the real meaning of a family name is gorgeously heartbreaking, and Travis’ love of books and literature, as well as the struggles that he goes through, are hopeful. Lydia knows what she is to do in life, but she worries for her friends, who have no such plans.
All three characters are so well written, it was impossible not to get attached. At one point, I was reading it in the car, and I began to cry profusely to the alarm of my father. Jeff Zentner did an absolutely marvelous job of writing a small town mentality, and the entire book grips your soul. This book is a great one to curl up on a stormy day in summer and down in one go.