The 2019 One Book of Rutherford County Selection is a coming of age story by a local author

Jan 03, 2019 at 08:00 am by literacymatters

One Book of Rutherford County

The 2019 One Book of Rutherford County selection will remind you what it’s like to be a teenager running headlong into adulthood.

One Book of Rutherford County has chosen The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner as the 2019 selection. The novel follows three high school seniors as they navigate the hardships that come with growing up in a small southern town and the shared histories that you cannot escape.  

The story, set in the conservative middle Tennessee town, follows protagonist Dill Early and his two best friends as they prepare for their senior year of high school. Dill is a misfit in his community and plagued by the many ghosts of his family’s past. Many things are changing and the group knows that this is their last year together before their paths diverge to pursue other dreams – mostly getting out of the small town in which they were raised.

“The novel immediately connects you to the lives of characters so that you feel you know them,” says Butler Touchton, One Book Selection Committee co-chairperson. “You become invested in their story and want them to overcome the obstacles they must face.”

Jeff Zentner, author of The Serpent King, is the winner of multiple awards including William C. Morris Award, the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award, the International Literacy Association Award, and the Westchester Fiction Award. He began writing novels for young adults after volunteering at Tennessee Teen Rock Camp and Southern Girls Rock Camp. He lives in Nashville.

After the beginning of the year, copies of the One Book will be distributed around the county at “Book Crossing” locations, which are marked by one of the Read To Succeed red boxes. Found in local businesses and libraries, books can be borrowed for free.

In each book, you will find a sticker on the inside cover with information about how to log on to the One Book web page and share your comments about the book after you’ve read it and get registered in a prize drawing. You can pass the copy along to a friend, bring it back to the location where you found it or drop it at any of the other locations.

More details about locations will be announced in the New Year.

About One Book

Each year, Read To Succeed joins with Linebaugh Library and various other community partners to ask adults in Rutherford County to read the same book. Over the years, the program promoted nonfiction, literary fiction, and popular young adult choices.

Members of the One Book Selection Committee read and discuss countless books before deciding on the annual selection.

Previous One Books were: The Great Santini, Pat Conroy in 2008; Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver in 2009; The Soloist, Mark Salzman in 2010; Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Helen Simonson in 2011; The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins in 2012; The Fault in Our Stars, John Green in 2013; The Last Policeman, Ben Winters in 2014; The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion in 2015; Girls of Atomic City, Denise Kiernan; Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon, and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

About Read To Succeed

Read To Succeed is a community partnership created to promote reading in Rutherford County through tutoring, programming and community events. For more information, visit


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