Jeff Zentner is the author of New York Times Notable Books The Serpent King and In the Wild Light, as well as Goodbye Days, Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee, and his forthcoming debut for the adult market, Colton Gentry’s Third Act.
Among other honors, he has won the ALA’s William C. Morris Award, the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award twice, the Muriel Becker Award, the International Literacy Association Award, and been longlisted twice for the Carnegie Medal. He’s a two-time Southern Book Prize finalist; and was a finalist for the Indies Choice Award. He was selected as a Publishers Weekly Flying Start and an Indies Introduce pick. His books have been translated into fifteen languages. Before becoming a writer, he was a musician who recorded with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, and Debbie Harry. He lives in Nashville.
He became interested in writing for young adults after volunteering at the Tennessee Teen Rock Camp and Southern Girls Rock Camp. As a kid, his parents would take him to the library and drop him off, where he would read until closing time. He worked at various bookstores through high school and college.
He speaks fluent Portuguese, having lived in the Amazon region of Brazil for two years.
About In the Wild Light:
Life in small-town Tennessee has never been easy. Cash already lost his mother to an opioid addiction and is losing his papaw, who raised him, one labored breath at a time. But loss has led him to Delaney Doyle, and she’s been his salvation. The trouble is that canoeing on the river and hiking the East Tennessee mountains might be all he needs to fill his soul, but Delaney is meant for so much more.
So when Delaney makes a scientific discovery that gets them both full rides at an elite boarding school in Connecticut, Cash has to make the tough decision to leave behind his place of the heart to support his person of the heart. Will the decision to go to Middleford Academy be the thing that finally breaks Cash, or will it be the making of him?
“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, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read and People We Meet on Vacation
“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.
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