Published: March 8, 2016
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. The end of high school will lead to new beginnings for Lydia, whose edgy fashion blog is her ticket out of their rural Tennessee town. And Travis is happy wherever he is thanks to his obsession with the epic book series Bloodfall and the fangirl who may be turning his harsh reality into real-life fantasy. 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.
Debut novelist Jeff Zentner provides an unblinking and at times comic view of the hard realities of growing up in the Bible Belt, and an intimate look at the struggles to find one’s true self in the wreckage of the past.
I both read and listened to this book and found the dual experience very interesting.
I loved this book for several reasons :
- The friends were all outcasts and didn’t really let it affect them, especially Lydia.
- The sarcastic humor, mainly from Lydia.
- The small town setting in the South .
- The affection the friends felt for one another, either shown or not.
- The thread of enduring friendship that runs throughout the book.
- The tear-jerking sadness of losing a friend.
- The courage of Dill to finally take steps to change his life.
- Lydia and Dill having a relationship and then going to college miles from each other and having the courage to do so.
Are you seeming the pervading theme of the storyline: Courage! Even Travis, who dies too soon, and caused me to use numerous Kleenex, had the courage to get outside his comfort zone with Amelia.
Though this book is classified as Young Adult I think it needs to be read by everyone.