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.
Melissa Walker has crafted the perfect balance of engrossing, thought-provoking topics and relatable, likable characters. Set against the backdrop of extreme religion, Small Town Sinners is foremost a universal story of first love and finding yourself, and it will stay with readers long after the last page.
I have to admit, I was a little wary of this book after reading all the mixed reviews on it (due to the religious theme). But I'm pleased to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. I personally think it's interesting to hear about different religions (has anyone ever read Ally Condie's Being Sixteen? Yes, that Ally Condie). The way the author described Hell House really got under my skin, as it did Lacy's-- she wanted to believe it, but always there was this little nagging doubt in the back of her mind. Her doubts and confusion are easy to relate with-- what teen doesn't question their beliefs and values every once in a while? The simple, strong writing style conveyed the character emotions perfectly, and the romance was sweet and believable. Although it's not action-packed, this novel will have you tense and wondering at the next chapter.