Lacey Anne Byer is a perennial good girl and a lifelong member of the House of Enlightenment, the Evangelical church in her small town in Texas . 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 of high school is looking promising. But when a cute new boy comes to town, something begins to stir inside of her. Ty Davis doesn’t know the sweet, shy, Lacey Anne Byer everyone else does. With Ty, Lacey can reinvent herself and has the opportunity to figure out if who she has always been is who she wants to be. As her feelings for Ty make Lacey consider testing her own boundaries, events surrounding this year’s Hell House, and even Ty himself, challenge Lacey to ask questions and decide what she thinks for herself. Set against a backdrop of extreme religion, it is first and foremost a universal story of first love and finding yourself, and it will stay with readers long after the last page.Review:
Melissa Walker writes some of the best contemporary fiction out there and Small Town Sinners, her newest release, is no different of course. Because quite simply Small Town Sinners manages to have it all: relatable and charming main characters, real-life situations that can apply to basically any reader's life, some funny parts, and smooth writing that keeps the reader constantly entranced in the book at hand.
Small Town Sinners tells the tale of Lacey Bryer. Lacey's always been the good girl thanks to her pastor father's influence, but the thing is she is fine with being that way. Especially since she has two of the best friends a person can have. And she can already tell this year, her junior one in high school, is going to be spectacular, because not only is she a shoo-in for the lead roll her in church's Hell Hall but she can also drive. However, everything changes when Ty shows up in town. Ty is amazing and cute, perfect crush material in Lacey's opinion, but the thing is Ty, as well as several other key factors, are making Lacey question everything about her faith. So, what is one church girl supposed to do when everything in her world suddenly appears different? Will she stand up for what she now believes in or sit on the sidelines? Only time and more pages can tell in Small Town Sinners.
Lacey is a very believable and relatable character when it comes to the parts in the story were she questions her faith. Because I truly feel there's a time in almost any person's life were they question something they were taught that was supposed to be "right" but now wonder why there isn't another way to see and do things. Furthermore, I liked how while religion plays a big part in the story, Melissa has it in a way were it isn't right in your face, telling you what or what not to think. Actually, it was quite different than that, because at least in my situation, I was questioning things in Lacey's life right along with her and Ty and making my own decisions for a huge duration of the story. On a lighter note, I also enjoyed the characters of Starla Joy and Dean, because they are funny, full-of-heart ones that you can't help but love as the story moves along.
While the plot wasn't the most exciting and suspenseful one ever written, it still was nearly perfect in my eyes thanks to Melissa's excellent writing that fully captured the feel of the story and the characters she brought to life right along with it. I especially liked how she used Hell Hall as a way to make the characters think out of the box when it came to what was presented in there and what was right to them at least.
Small Town Sinners is a delightful read that not only is a fun distraction for a couple of hours but also truly make the reader question their own ways of thinking right along with Lacey and her friends. I truly cannot suggest this one highly enough!
Small Town Sinners will be released July 19, 2011.
Source: Publicist at Bloomsbury/Walker Books- thanks Kate!
Fun Fact: I actually read this one last year in August after I was asked to give some early feedback. It was a very cool experience, as not only was the book not due to be released for close to another year, but there wasn't even a cover yet. A small tidbit of my review was actually quoted in the beginning of the ARC addition. :) Anyhow, as I said in my review, READ this book! It's amazing.