Best of 2021: In the Wild Light

Looking back on my reviews this year, it should be very clear which book was far and away my favorite. I have recommended this book and gushed about it so many times I’m sure people are sick of me talking about it. I gifted it to some special people for Christmas, because I want them to feel the same affection for these characters that I do. Below is a snippet of my original review…

In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner is a masterpiece of young adult literature. It is a book that I will pull off the shelf time and time again in the future, to remind myself of how remarkable it is when an author can take the simple twenty-six letters of our alphabet and transform them in the most beautiful ways. This book is a love song to friendship and family, to poetry and quiet moments. It is a reflection on the power of grief and the resilience that can be found in all of us. It broke me apart and put me back together again, and left me a better person for the experience.

In the pages of this book, Zentner provided me with my favorite kind of story. Not one driven by its plot, but by its characters. Each one is so well developed that it gave me the feeling that I knew them personally. His descriptions of the sights and sounds and smells of Cash and Delaney’s rural Appalachian hometown are so vivid that it seemed I could feel the water of the river flowing over my feet while standing on its bank, hear the rustle of wind in the trees from Papaw’s porch, smell Mamaw’s cooking.

Thank you, Jeff Zentner for gifting us with your words and the beautiful spirit of this book. ❤️❤️❤️

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