In celebration of Jeff Zentner’s upcoming book Goodbye Days getting its first major review (and a starred one at that – as if there was any doubt!) we have a special treat – Jeff has agreed to answer a few questions for us!
At a friend’s suggestion, I recently watched 2006’s Slither, starring Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, and Michael Rooker. I’d never heard of Slither until my friend had suggested it (although I really like Nathan Fillion), so before viewing I thought it was about snakes or something.
I was wrong.
Basically Critters meets Alien meets Night of the Living Dead, Slither is about a small town that gets taken over by aliens. It all starts when Grant Grant (Rooker) runs across a meteorite that has landed in the woods. (And yes, the character’s name is actually Grant Grant. His parents were either lazy or cruel.) Because curiosity killed the cat (and in this case also the dog, the cow, the deer, the sheep, etc.) he decides to check out the hatched egg-looking meteorite and gets jabbed in the chest by a barb and taken over by an alien parasite, eventually turning him into King Koopa from the Super Mario Bros movie. (Seriously, that’s what he reminded me of toward the end there.) He ‘infects’ a woman that he had run into at a bar the night he was taken over and basically turns her into a giant slug-like alien baby factory. The alien slug babies start to infect the townsfolk by squirming their way into their mouths, taking over their brains and turning them into zombie-like creatures – leaving only Grant’s wife, Starla (Banks), Police Chief Bill Pardy (Fillion), and a teenage townie named Kylie to battle the collective – because apparently they all have Grant’s memories, so if you kill the Grant monster, the rest of them will follow suit. The big climactic scene had some sort of weird assimilation/orgy thing going on, so that plot point actually did kind of made sense rather than feeling like a cop-out.
There were a few points thoughout where I had to go, “REALLY? Come on, now!” but otherwise it was highly entertaining with just the right amount of ‘ew’/creep factor.
Final rating: 4 Sporks
Any thoughts? Sound off in the comments below!
For our first official review, I’m reviewing some of my favorite books of all time (seriously, EVERYONE needs to read these books).
As one of the (many) perks of my job, I get to read a lot of really great books, which leads me to get to meet some amazing authors – one of whom is Jeff Zentner, author of The Serpent King (Crown Books for Young Readers, 2016) and the upcoming Goodbye Days (Crown Books for Young Readers, 2017).
I first ran across The Serpent King at the beginning of 2016 while researching YA authors to invite to my state’s yearly book festival. Intrigued by the cover (’cause aren’t those covers GORGEOUS?) I checked out the reviews and upon making a decision to invite the author to be featured at the Festival, I also decided to purchase myself a copy to read.
Am I ever glad I did.
From the first page I was sucked into the world of three small-town Tennessee teens – Dill, the son of a disgraced snake-handling preacher (his father’s in prison on some very creepy charges), Lydia, the upper-middle class fashion blogger, and Travis, the fantasy series-reading, dragon necklace-wearing gentle giant. All very different teenagers but best friends yet the same, they are just trying to survive their senior year of high school.
I picked up The Serpent King knowing zero about the author. After finishing, though, I read his author bio and was not surprised to find out that he is also a musician. Jeff’s writing is so lyrical that it is almost serpentine in and of itself with the way it ebbs and flows. Not only do I care so deeply about the characters (I seriously just want to adopt Dill and protect him from all the awfulness he has to endure) but the writing is also so fantastic that it has spanned generations. Everyone I have recommended it to from teenagers to the ages of 90+ has loved this book.
(Which reminds me – if you ever get the chance to listen to the audiobook (narrated by 3 seriously talented folks –, do so. You won’t regret it.)
Jeff is one of those rare talents that only come along once every so often, and Dill, Lydia, and Travis will always have a special place in my heart as some of my favorite YA characters ever created –
– so imagine my delight when I found out that Jeff had another book coming out.
Goodbye Days, releasing March 7, 2017, is the story of Carver Briggs, a Nashville teen who has lost his 3 best friends in a car accident – one that was caused while the friend who was driving was replying to a text that Carver had just sent.
Where are you guys? Text me back.
In order to process through his grief over the course of the year, Carver embarks on a series of “Goodbye Days” with the families of his deceased friends. There’s also some other stuff that happens, but… spoilers. 🙂
I’ve been one of the lucky ones who has gotten a chance to read Goodbye Days early, and it is truly a masterful follow-up to The Serpent King. While not a sequel, one of the characters from The Serpent King makes an appearance in Goodbye Days – so read TSK first or else you’ll hit a pretty major spoiler.
Fair warning as well when reading both The Serpent King & Goodbye Days – have tissues handy. LOTS AND LOTS of tissues. In fact, Jeff, you might want to buy stock in Kleenex since your readers will be using so many.
Final rating: 5 shiny new sporks each.
Even though we had been Tweeting and emailing back & forth during the months leading up to the Festival, I was fortunate enough to have gotten to actually meet Jeff in person at the Festival and hang out with him and get to know him a little afterwards as well. Jeff is a super genuine guy who truly cares about his readers, so stay tuned for an interview with him!
So before we get into some proper reviewing, a little about me:
As part of the perks of my job, I get the privilege of planning all of the teen & YA events of my state’s Book Festival. Hey, it’s a tough job getting to hang with awesome authors who write amazing books, but I somehow make it work. 😉 So I’ll frequently be reviewing books I’m reading for work, and there might even be an author interview or two coming soon!
Why the “spork” review, you ask? Well, like the majestic spork, this blog will be versatile – reviewing movies, books, music, and other things that interest me. The good, the bad, and the sporktastic will all be featured here. So stay tuned for our first review!