Saturday, August 27, 2011

Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker

Release Date: Eh, it's out.

Amazon Says:
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 Say: 
I live in the Bible Belt. I live with religious friends. Throw a stone in my town and you will hit a church. With all of that, I've never much liked reading about religion. It's somewhat awkward to read about characters that remind me so much of people I know.


Melissa Walker does this beautifully. In the back of the book, she discusses how she hadn't heard of Hell Houses before researching the novel, that when she first heard of them, she thought they were a joke. 

(For those of you who haven't encountered Hell Houses: they're set up in a church, or a house, and each room represents a different sin or a different situation. They start small and get bigger usually. A 'devil' leads you through the scenes, all of which usually end dramatically.)

They aren't a joke, though. I know of three around my surrounding area, and though I've never been, I have friends that have gone and probably will go again. 

Melissa Walker covers the touchy subject well. She neither condemns or endorses the ideas of Christianity; instead, she follows a teenage girl as the girl begins to question the things she's always been taught. Lacey is a character that could very easily attend my high school. Every character in the book could. I did not, however, feel awkward reading about the touchy subjects, or annoyed at any sort of preachiness. The book is a story and not a lesson, which I appreciated immensely.

It's a very internal novel. There is a strong plot, but the crux of the novel seemed to be inside of Lacey's thoughts. It's a novel about religion, but I definitely wouldn't call it a religious novel. All in all, a good read. It wasn't my favorite by Melissa Walker, but it was certainly solid.

More later.