Summary: The son of a Pentecostal preacher faces his personal demons as he and his two outcast friends try to make it through their senior year of high school in rural Forrestville, Tennessee without letting the small-town culture destroy their creative spirits and sense of self.
My Review: This book is told by three characters: Dill, the outcast son of an incarcerated preacher, Lydia, the fashion blogger desperate to get out of their small town and into New York City, and Travis, a loner from an abusive family obsessed with a set of fantasy novel series.
Dill is the angry one of the three. Dill’s father has been in jail and he takes care of his mother while dealing with being an outcast in school. He is angry about what his father did, he is angry that his Mom has to work so hard, he is angry that he gets blamed for what his father did, and he is angry that he will be stuck in his hometown with no prospects of a future. He takes a lot of his anger out at Lydia who has a normal home life and can’t wait to leave. He lashes out at her because he wants her to stay.
Lydia is the most centered of the characters. Her parents are very much a part of her life and support her hopes and dreams. They seem a bit too perfect in my opinion, but her interactions with them are some of the more light hearted aspects of the novel. Her plan is to go to NYU. She has some connections due to her fashion blog and uses them to help her get out of her little home town.
Travis is my favorite. He is a loner who is highly obsessed with a series of fantasy novels. He wears a dragon pendant necklace and carries a staff with him in honor of the novels. He has re-read them many times and goes on online forums to discuss them for hours. He is very socially awkward, but he is able to make a connection with a girl through these forums. Dill and Lydia also do something for him that gave me this huge grin.
I liked this novel, but it had its issues. The language was a bit too wordy at times and I was unhappy with one of the major plot points of the novel. I don’t think it was a necessary plot point. I think the book would have been fine without it.