I read this book for my first Random Read, a monthly meme hosted by I’m Loving Books. At the rate that I add to my TBR list, making a point to read one book a month from the list is like trying to save the Titanic by tossing all the paperclips overboard. I guess you have to start somewhere…Anyway. The book.
Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker
January 19, 2011
Hardcover, 259 pgs.
Sixteen-year old Lacey Anne Byers is a small town girl and daughter of an Evangelical Pastor. As a junior, she is finally able to audition for the star role in her church’s annual Hell House, a haunted house showcasing a variety of sins and their consequences. Of course, if she doesn’t land the part of Abortion Girl, she’ll still be thrilled to participate in any way she can. Souls are at stake, after all. As preparations for the annual event begin, two shocking events shatter the security that Lacey has always known and she finds herself questioning her church, her parents, and her faith for the first time in her life.
When I first picked this book up, I could not figure out why I even had it on my TBR list. At first I thought that maybe I added it after reading and enjoying Unbreak My Heart by the same author, but the timeline doesn’t work. I suppose it really doesn’t matter, but I do find it interesting that I thought I should read about Evangelical Christian teens. I found the entire idea of Hell House to be fascinating and disturbing all at once. I really struggled with the first part of the book, where everything is black and white with Lacey and many of her ideas conflicted with my own beliefs. While I was never able to fully connect with most of the characters, I really appreciated the way Ty gently challenges Lacey to think for herself. I also felt that Lacey’s growth was quite realistic. While she had doubts and questions, she did not fully abandon her faith. Instead, she went in search of ways to make it more meaningful for her. This book thoughtfully and respectfully discusses the sensitive issues of religion. Teens struggling with their own doubts may find comfort in Lacey’s story, but in the end this was not a favorite of mine. And I could have continued to live blissfully unaware of Hell Houses…