I have come to expect a few things out of a book by Jeff Zentner. One that I will probably cry at some point. Two that I probably won’t sleep or eat until I finish. Three, that I will continue to follow this man’s career to the end of my days.
What is it about, you ask?
This story follows Josie and Delia, hosts of a public access monster movie show. Both are uniquely different but fit together like PB and j. Delia comes from a broken home (her father abandoned her and her mother) whereas Josie comes from one a tad more put together. Delia’s story takes a turn into heartbreak city because she yearns to find him. She even hires a private detective despite her mother’s financial burdens. Josie struggles with leaving Delia and her sense of responsibility for her friend. Josie also wants to be on television and Delia wants to track down her dad and have closure. Their rival dilemmas may or may not split them apart.
The core of this story centers around their show which, for the first time, was something incredibly new in a YA novel for me. I’ve read your podcast novels, your theater novels, your Youtube channel novels, but this one was a shiny territory and entertaining AF. More so to the scene-stealing Lawson, an MMA fighter and reader. What a combination. Drools in book nerd.
The split POV’s with both girls were fantastic. I think I loved Delia’s more since Josie’s focused a tab too much on her romance with Lawson for my tastes. Her character did not have emotions as Delia’s did. At least for me. But this wasn’t a problem because I loved Lawson too much.
This book touches upon mental illness as well as the effects of being abandoned by a parent. I believe a lot of people can relate to this and may even find solidarity in Delia’s story. But through all of that, there is humor. I am not the type to laugh at loud at books or even movies. I have a very particular sense of humor. This one had me chuckling and waking up my husband. Score on both accounts. That being said, this had more witty moments than Jeff’s other books and reminded me so much of myself and my best friend in high school.
“I get lonely sometimes, but so does everyone else. We’re all looking for some sort of salvation in something.”
If you loved The Serpent King and Goodbye Days, you will love this one. You may even enjoy it more. You may also follow Jeff on every platform you can and pick apart every tweet looking for news of his next book. I will do that. Always. No shame.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a chance to review this title ahead of its release date.