In The Wild Light was my most anticipated book of the year. So far Zentner has written 4 books, including this one, and I have loved all of them! However, this is my absolute favorite of his books so far.
Zentner writes books featuring teenagers and their journeys through some very difficult transitions in their lives.
In this book we follow Cash Pruitt and Delaney Doyle, two kids from Sawyer, Tennessee, who are now faced with the very real possibility of going to a private boarding school via a full ride scholarship and completely changing the course of their lives. Cash absolutely loves his hometown, his grandparents, and the simplicity of his life as it is. His grandparents have raised him since the death of his mom and his grandfather is ill so Cash does not feel confident enough to leave and go to the boarding school even though it would be a great opportunity. Delaney, on the other hand, can’t afford to stay. Her mom is an addict and so she tends to basically provide for herself without her mom’s support. Delaney also does not want to go to the school without Cash, who has become her only friend and lifeline.
All of the characters in this book are so well written, they are very smart and complex, they have very real problems like having to budget and the culture clash of going from a poor background to being surrounded by heirs to big fortunes, etc. There are also other wonderful characters in this book, like Alex Pak. Alex is Korean-American, from Texas, and is also at the boarding school on scholarship so Cash is able to connect with him and their friendship is heartwarming and beautiful. We see two boys being vulnerable with each other, supporting each other, and lifting each other up, I just love them!
Another beautiful relationship is that of Cash and his grandfather, Pep. Pep is such a wonderful man, he’s been a great role model for Cash and now that he’s ill all he wants is to make sure that Cash goes to the boarding school so that he achieves things that he has never even imagined. I just love Pep so much! T_T
I could go on and on about all the reasons why this book is just so wonderful but let me just put here one of the many beautiful passages you can find throughout the novel:
We think of language as this tame thing that lives in neat garden beds, bound by rules and fences. Then someone shows it to you growing wild and beautiful, flowering vines consuming cities, erasing pavement and lines. Breaking through any fence that would try to contain it. Reclaiming. Reshaping. Reforming.In The Wild Light by Jeff Zentner (pg.263)
The love of writing and poetry is found throughout the novel. There’s even one of the most wonderful teachers ever: Dr. Britney Rae Adkins! I love that our main characters are not alone, they have a good support system and they have people who believe in them and want them to succeed. It’s just a positive book that made me feel good and happy in the end.
This book is perfect for autumn, Zentner is known for his beautiful writing as he describes the change of nature during autumn so if you want something to get you into that cozy fall mood, this is it! I highly recommend this book if you like beautiful writing, complex characters, beautiful relationships, and realistic fiction. Read this book! I promise you’ll love it! So far it is my favorite book of the year so…. read this book! XD