One of the hundred books a year I read:

One of the hundred books a year I read:

Jeff Zentner In The Wild Light

In The Wild Light

Jeff Zentner

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Cash Pruitt’s summer vacation takes an unexpected turn when his best friend, Delaney Doyle, discovers a mold in a cave in eastern Tennessee that has significant medicinal opportunities in fighting infections. Cash has always known she was smart—the smartest person in their school—so he isn’t surprised when her discovery gives her the chance to attend a prestigious prep school in Connecticut. He’s shocked, though, to discover that she has bargained for him to get a scholarship as well.

They’ve been best friends because they share a common past—both are children of opioid addicts. Orphaned Cash lives with his grandparents, who he adores and feels obligated to care for. His grandfather is dying from emphysema. His grandmother works hard to provide what little she can to them. He can’t abandon them after they took him in. Besides, he knows he doesn’t deserve the academic opportunity and is happy mowing lawns in Sawyer Tennessee.

Delaney and his grandparents convince him to try. At school, Cash discovers an expected gift in himself, one that would not have developed if he hadn’t moved well outside his comfort zone.

Author Jeff Zentner understands small town America and the challenges young people face there.

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