Teenage fiction reviewed by Geraldine Brennan
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner (Andersen Press, £7.99) is a richly textured tale set in small-town Tennessee where the sins of Dill’s father, a disgraced and imprisoned evangelist minister, are visited relentlessly upon his son. Dill and his mother are social pariahs living in poverty, while Dill’s friend Lydia, a fashion blogger heading for New York after high school, considers him a project. The gulf between their likely futures is the pink elephant in the back seat of Lydia’s car, which shelters Dill and the equally unfortunate Travis from the storms brewed by their elders. The universal highs, lows and power shifts in friendship are played out by three compelling characters until tragedy brings loyalty to the fore.
Other titles reviewed in the full piece:
The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil
Needlework by Deirdre Sullivan
Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff
Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit