In the Wild Light (Paperback)
A poignant coming-of-age novel about two best friends whose friendship is tested when they get the opportunity to leave their impoverished small town for an elite prep school. For fans of Looking for Alaska.
Life in a small Appalachian town is not easy. Cash lost his mother to an opioid addiction and his Papaw is dying slowly from emphysema. Dodging drug dealers and watching out for his best friend, Delaney, is second nature. He's been spending his summer mowing lawns while she works at Dairy Queen. But when Delaney manages to secure both of them full rides to an elite prep school in Connecticut, Cash will have to grapple with his need to protect and love Delaney, and his love for the grandparents who saved him and the town he has to leave behind. Jeff Zentner's new novel is a beautiful examination of grief, found family, and young love.
About the Author
JEFF ZENTNER is the author of the New York Times Notable Book The Serpent King, Goodbye Days, and Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee. He has won the William C. Morris Award, Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award, International Literacy Association Award, Westchester Fiction Award, been longlisted for the Carnegie Medal and UKLA, and was a finalist for the Southern Book Prize and Indies Choice Award. He was a Publishers Weekly Flying Start and an Indies Introduce pick. Before becoming a writer, he was a musician who recorded with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, and Debbie Harry. He lives in Nashville with his wife and son. You can visit him online at jeffzentnerbooks.com and on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
New York Times Best Children's Books of 2021
Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2021
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2021
"Zentner conjures a moving and rich novel about friendship, loss, kind strangers, the blindness so often present in the pursuit of love, and love itself. His protagonists have their eyes raised to the sky."—Daniel Woodrell for The New York Times Book Review
“Vitally redefines friendship as something that must be protected, sacrificed for, and tended to with wisdom, patience, and love—and, to our luck, rendered in Zentner’s gem-like sentences.” —Ocean Vuong, New York Times bestselling author of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
“In a word: sublime. This gift of a book will leave you with fiery, incandescent hope in your chest.” —Emily Henry, New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read
“A novel with the soul of a poem. Jeff Zentner proves yet again that he's one of the most luminous voices writing for young people today.” —Randy Ribay, author of National Book Award finalist Patron Saints of Nothing
“An ode to the healing power of nature and art, but also a testament to the beauty of family both blood and created. No one else can write like Jeff Zentner.” —Silas House, New York Times bestselling author of Southernmost and Same Sun Here
"A brilliant treasure of a book that holds up a mirror to the best parts of our humanity." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Evocative and moving, highlighting Zentner’s impressive skill with both poetry and prose."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A wise, gorgeous exploration of loss and survival that will make readers cry...Lyrical and heartbreaking.”—School Library Journal, starred review
"Heartfelt and deeply moving...a book that readers will unhesitatingly take to their hearts."—Booklist, starred review
"Zentner's signature poetic prose is in full effect as he crafts sentences that read like sweet tea tastes and cotton feels...In the Wild Light is a love letter to possibility."—Bookpage
“With profound, evocative prose and lyrical insights into the world surrounding a struggling main character, Zentner's powerful, emotional novel is one you won't soon forget.” —Buzzfeed