Saturday, August 20, 2011

Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker

Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker
Publisher : Bloomsbury
Pages :  273
Series : N/A
Rating: 2/5

     Sometimes you just know everything is about to change.  That you'll finally get your own moment in the spotlight.  This is that year for perennial good girl Lacey Anne Byer.
     With her driver's license in hand, Lacey has a little freedom from her protective parents now - or at lease more than she had before.  And as a junior, she is eligible to try out for a starring role in Hell House, her church's annual Haunted House of sin.  But it turns out Lacey doesn't need to play a role to have her moment.  What she needs is Ty Davis.  He's smart, cute, and best of all, new.  He doesn't know sweet, shy, good girl Lacey Anne.  With Ty, Lacey could reinvent herself and maybe get her first boyfriend.
     As her feelings for Ty grow, and conflicts surrounding Hell House intensify, Lacey finds reason to test her own boundaries - to question the faith she's always known to be absolute.

Small Town Sinners is the tale of Lacey Anne Byer who lives in the small town of West River.  Lacey’s Christian upbringing and pastor father have cemented her as the good girl in town.  Then she meets the new guy, Ty Davis.  Ty is perfect boyfriend material in Lacey’s mind.  The only thing standing in the way is Ty’s persistence of making Lacey think with her own words.  Ty, and other events, are making Lacey question her faith.  Suddenly Lacey has changed from seeing the world in black and white (right and wrong) to varying shades of gray.  What will this church girl do when forced to think about abortion, teen pregnancy, bullying and drunk driving without the input of faith?

I don’t know if I’m right but I keep coming back to the fact in my mind that I wasn’t raised in a faith driven house hold.  I have no idea what Lacey is going through, I can’t relate.  Therefore, I want to read about extremes.  I want to be told that growing up Christian is worse than growing up like I did.  I want to see the problems and I found the normalcy in Small Town Sinners tedious and boring.  I wanted Lacey to fight back and rebel because I would have found it interesting, not because it would help her character grow.  I don’t know if this is a hurtle I’ll ever be able to overcome but it definitely stopped me from enjoying Small Town Sinners.

Even with my own mental road block I still found Small Town Sinners okay.  I loved the exploration of Hell Houses.  Before I’d read this book I had no idea what a Hell House was. (A Hell House is like a haunted house but they scare you with grossly hyperbolized images the church believes are wrong.  For example in Small Town Sinners one scene in the Hell House is a Gay Marriage where after getting married one of the husbands dies of AIDS and it is implied that only gay sex results in AIDS.)  I found the whole idea of a Hell House shocking and at times unbelievable.  I wish the topic and the rights and wrongs of it had been explored in more depth.

Overall, I found Small Town Sinners to be an okay read.  I wish I could say it was fantastic and made me question my own morals but it really didn’t.  If you’ve read Small Town Sinners and were left with a different opinion, let me know! I want to know what others thought about this book.

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