Nominated by: Esther Braithwaite
Finalist blurb: Where we come from is part of who we are, but not all of who we can be—this is the hard truth that drew us to The Serpent King. With lambent prose, Jeff Zentner gives us the story of Dill, Travis, and Lydia, three friends looking for a way out of their small Tennessee town and into their true selves. A story of hope and possibility, as Lydia, destined for bigger and brighter things, seeks to help Dill and Travis find their own light. A story of grace and redemption, as Dill and Travis learn that not all the sins of the father are visited upon the son. We loved The Serpent King for its searing portrayal of friendship and its emotional reminder that growth is always loss.
— William Polking, Guys Lit Wire