Back in 2016 when I was still a subscriber to OwlCrate, I received their March Writer’s Block box. Inside was a book I’d never heard of and probably wouldn’t have picked up on my own and yet I read it in about a week, crying almost the whole way through because of how much I connected to the hardships the three characters were dealing with.
That book was The Serpent King by none other than Jeff Zentner. And his debut novel at that.
Over two years later, I was lucky enough to receive an ARC from Penguin and Crown Publishing of Zentner’s newest book, Rayne & Delilah’s Midnight Matinée and for the third time in almost as many years, I found myself in tears over these characters who had me falling in love with them right from the first page.
I took my time with this one, wanting to absorb everything about it. And I was laughing every time I picked up the book while also appreciating the subtle nods to other authors as well as Jeff’s previous books. Josie (Rayne) and Delia (Delilah) run a midnight horror-host show not dissimilar to Elvira on their local public access network. Josie does it because she has always wanted to be on TV. Delia does in it the hopes that it reaches her absentee father and reminds him of her existence. And then there’s MMA fighter, Lawson, who has a wicked crush on Josie and also guests on their show to display his fighter moves as a segment of his own.
To be honest, I don’t actually know how to review this book other than just saying, “I loved it, please go pre-order it now (available February 2019).” Because we still have so long before the release I was going to do a “pre-review” (like with what I did for Bookish Boyfriends) but I just can’t bring myself to simplify what I have to say.
The Serpent King got me to let go of a lot of anger at being left by my own father at a very young age and, boy, let me tell you that if this had been the book in that OwlCrate box, my life would have taken a very different turn. Because of what I’ve been through in both being very much disconnected by family and being left behind by people who I thought were very dear friends, I connect with Delia on so many levels that it was hard to get through the last few sections of the book because I was so emotional.
Jeff Zentner knows how to break your heart in the smoothest of ways so that even though you are crying for a loss, it still feels like something new is forming in it’s place. They say that when a bone breaks, that break becomes the strongest part of said bone once the healing process is finished. That’s how I feel after reading Jeff Zentner’s books as they have such deep emotional strongpoints, they can show us how to be better people. And not only in regards to how we see and treat others, but in how we see and treat ourselves. Rayne & Delilah is no exception.
I really hope that if you’re a fan, you pre-order this book through your nearest retailer, and that if you’ve never picked up one of Jeff’s books, that you consider giving this one a try.
I really don’t have many more words for how important The Serpent King, Goodbye Days, and Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinée are to me and how lucky I feel to have been able to read all of them.