Monday, March 5, 2012

Review: Small Town Sinners

Author: Melissa Walker
Publish date: 2011
Source: Purchased (ebook)
"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.

I'd been meaning to read Small Town Sinners ever since it was published, but I just never got around to it. No excuses, really. I even checked it out from the library at one point, but never read it (which is very rare for me). It is only 2.99 for the kindle right now, though, so I bought it and read it when the mood struck. I really liked it and think its themes will stick with me for a long time.

One of the things that really struck me about this book was the character growth. Lacey goes from a very naive girl who maintained her religious beliefs because that's all she knew to someone who wanted to learn and grow and make decisions for herself. The writing style meshed well with Lacey as a main character: simple, but effective. The dialogue seemed a bit mature at times (especially when they talked about religion toward the end), but nothing that bothered me too much. So far, so good.

Reading about the Hell House was INSANE. I was aware of stuff like that before reading the book, but learning about what goes into one made them seem really crazy. The fact that everything they perform is exaggerated so much bothered me, like the Abortion Girl scene. Hopefully people are aware that everything is dramatized, like Ty was careful to point out.

Speaking of Ty...this book has a case of insta!love. Their relationship started with friendship, yes, but I didn't understand why they were immediately drawn to each other. Other than that, I liked this book a lot and definitely think teenagers would enjoy it. Reading about Hell Houses was fascinating and although I have absolutely zero interest in going to one, I'd like to find out more about them. Hello, google!

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