"Lacey Anne Byer is a perennial good girl and lifelong member of the House of Enlightenment, the Evangelical church in her small town. With her driver's license in hand and the chance to try out for a lead role in Hell House, her church's annual haunted house of sin, Lacey's junior year is looking promising. But when a cute new stranger comes to town, something begins to stir inside her. Ty Davis doesn't know the sweet, shy Lacey Anne Byer everyone else does. With Ty, Lacey could reinvent herself. As her feelings for Ty make Lacey test her boundaries, events surrounding Hell House make her question her religion.
Melissa Walker has crafted the perfect balance of engrossing, thought-provoking topics and relatable, likable characters. Set against the backdrop of extreme religion, Small Town Sinners is foremost a universal story of first love and finding yourself, and it will stay with readers long after the last page."
Copyright ©Bloomsbury Children's USA--2011
Small Town Sinners proved itself to be a gripping story about love, friendship, and the importance of being able to step outside the boundaries of religion and letting your true thoughts matter in the world.
Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker takes place in...well you guessed it, a small town. The book centers through the POV of Lacey Anne Byer, the daughter of a children's pastor and a goody-goody. She doesn't get into any trouble, hates sin, and was taught to look into her bible if she needs any answers about the world itself. Lacey Anne also has two closest best friends: the ambitious, spicy Starla Joy and Dean, a cute fat nerd. With her best friends, nothing they do is remotely rebelling for their age (If you count eating cheese fries and having a early curfew bad then yeah...) Anyway, all of them are gearing up for Hell House which is a show put on by their church showing youngsters the pain and emotion of each sin committed in society by people their age. Hell House takes place in October (around Halloween, however preparations begin in the summer. Preparations begin also with Lacey's love life when she meets Ty, whom she's ready to share her 'Hollywood moment' with and being the lead in Hell House. However, Lacey experiences some drama in her community and which all of this leads to Lacey having questions and doubts of herself and her faithfulness to God from her relationship with Ty.
Now, all of you may disagree with me however I truly did not enjoy Lacey's goody-goody character and I wish that Walker would have included some more twists and turns for Lacey's character.
It's not that I completely hated Lacey's character, because you understand from the get-go that her character showed innocence and faith to God. However, I wished that she was a little bit more rebellious with Ty/her parents because I feel like that would have added more tension to Hell House and having the stance to have your true thoughts to matter. I'm not sure why, but I felt like there was going to be more curve balls with Lacey's character.
With all that aside, the book showed growth of Lacey's inner thoughts provoked by her on and off again boyfriend Ty. You felt Lacey's mixed emotions of what she was taught and later on she realizes that it's fine to question her beliefs and morals for the sake of her curiosity.
I enjoyed Walker's stance on this small towns beliefs in today's sins in youth and felt that Hell Houses were really shocking and alarming...I definitely, will never step into one for sure.
Overall, this book aced it when synthesizing how religion impacts teenagers today and going for what you believe in. I really enjoyed the romance between Ty and Lacey (even though I wanted a little bit more to happen) and the supporting characters (Starla Joy and Dean) left me feeling happy and talking (in my mind) in a southern accent throughout the book. A strong bond with friends always remains true throughout the book, especially when the world yo knew all your life goes topsy turvy on ya. This small town, shows greater depth than what it does on the surface by the characters. This was one of the books where the case was the characters you hate from the beginning of the story you sympathize with in the end (I'm talking about you Geoff Parsons!)
If your looking for a good contemporary romance look no further especially, this one which handles with the topic of believing yourself and questioning faith like no other...even if it's from a polo-wearing hunk :D