Title: Small Town Sinners
Author: Melissa C. Walker
Published: July 19th 2011 by Bloomsbury
Source: ARC courtesy of Bloomsbury for review
Summary: "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."
Thoughts:I have been looking forward to reading Small Town Sinners for a very long time. What I didn't expect was how religion would play such a huge role in this novel and instead of it taking away from the story, it actually adds more depth to it. Small Town Sinners is a story about faith, growth and figuring how whether what to do when what you believe and what you think conflict.
I'll be the first to admit that Small Town Sinners is not exactly a light and easy read. At some points in the novel, I actually wanted to jump in the story and slap
One thing I loved about this book is Lacey's own personal growth. In the beginning, her faith was everything. And though she quickly begins to develop feelings for Ty, she's still very true to herself, even though she does not understand why he doesn't believe in the things she believes in. Then, things begin to get a bit rocky as people she knows begin to fall in the sinner category. From the events at the Hell House, to the church itself, to her friends, family and everything in between, Lacey soon begins to realize that not everything is black and white. Does that make you a saint or a sinner or something else completely?
Now, for those who fear that this book may be a little too much for you, I must tell you it does not cram religion down your throat. In fact, it does what everyone has done at one point in their life. It makes you question things you once thought were unquestionable. Isn't that part of growing up? And though a lot of the characters are incredibly closed minded and just, for lack of a better word, pains, just know that the ending is well worth the journey spent.
I recommend checking out Small Town Sinners just for the writing and story telling alone. It really is a beautiful story. Don't believe me? One of my favorite quotes comes from the very last page. "He says I can't be certain of anything, that everything changes. Even things we once thought were unquestionably true. And I know that he's right." If that doesn't make you want to rush out and read this book, then I don't know what will.