Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Teen Fiction Tuesday: Small Town Sinners

Small Town Sinners, by Melissa Walker

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 288 (hardcover)
Reading Level: 14 and up
Enjoyment Level: mid-high

I meant to read Violet on the Runway and review that with my Melissa Walker interview, but this is her newest book, and I thought it’d make a better giveaway, lol. Also, the blurb for Small Town Sinners caught my attention even before I heard Melissa Walker talking about the book at the Austin Teen Book Festival.

From Amazon.com:

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.

I’m glad I felt drawn into this book enough to want to see what happened in the end. Lacey Anne, the main character, has an innocent voice that carries the story well and makes you want to get to know what’s going on. While at times she seemed younger than sixteen, I can chalk that up to the character being from a small, evangelical town, and to the innocence that is so obvious from the beginning. Lacey Anne has a good, strong development through the story and I liked the highs and lows she experienced. They felt like a natural progression, leading her to discover things about herself without seeming overdone.

The details about the Hell House had me creeped out, which might not be what the author was going for, but I believe she portrayed the whole idea realistically. That goes along with Walker’s treatment of the religious beliefs of the characters – I do feel like she tried to write this book while respecting the evangelical religions, and by the end of the book, Lacey Anne hasn’t given up her faith but also hasn’t submitted wholly without getting her questions answered. I felt that it was fair and it shows a respectfully open mind.

Overall, the story kept me interested. The characters are definitely done well. I did have some issues with some of the dialogue at times seeming unnatural or forced. While there wasn’t any time where I felt a “message” was being shoved at me, some of the conversation the kids have at the end felt stilted, as though a “moral” was being given and being unsuccessfully hidden in a page of dialogue.

Of course, that didn’t keep me from enjoying the book as a whole, and I still recommend it as great reading. The title may make you think it’s deep and hard to get through, but the writing is light and very easy to like and connect with.

Until next time, go read something!

~ Vilate


  1. I would love to win this! I have been wanting to read it ever since I saw the cover of it too!

    Allison R

  2. This book sounds good. It is now on my TBR list!(: