In The Wild Light


Author: Jeff Zentner

New York Times Best Children’s Books of 2021
Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2021
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2021

A poignant coming-of-age novel about two best friends whose friendship is tested when they get the opportunity to leave their impoverished small town for an elite prep school. A love letter to Appalachia, nature, poetry, friendship and family. Looking for Alaska meets Friday Night Lights.

Life in a small Appalachian town is not easy.

Cash lost his mother to an opioid addiction and his Papaw is dying slowly from emphysema. Dodging drug dealers and watching out for his best friend, Delaney, is second nature. He’s been spending his summer mowing lawns while she works at Dairy Queen.

But when Delaney strikes gold with her extracurricular science research and manages to secure both of them full rides to an elite prep school in Connecticut, Cash will have to grapple with his need to protect and love Delaney, and his love for the grandparents who saved him and the town he has to leave behind.

“Zentner conjures a moving and rich novel about friendship, loss, kind strangers, the blindness so often present in the pursuit of love, and love itself.  His protagonists have their eyes raised to the sky.” — 
Daniel Woodrell for The New York Times Book Review

“A brilliant treasure of a book that holds up a mirror to the best parts of our humanity.” —
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Evocative and moving, highlighting Zentner’s impressive skill with both poetry and prose.”—
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A wise, gorgeous exploration of loss and survival that will make readers cry…Lyrical and heartbreaking.”—
School Library Journal, starred review

“Heartfelt and deeply moving…a book that readers will unhesitatingly take to their hearts.” —
 Booklist, starred review