Lacey Byer has always been a good girl and perfect Christian. She also just turned sixteen, which not only means she gets her driver's license, but also makes her old enough to try out for a lead role in this year's Hell House. Lacey's father is the Children's Pastor at the local community church in her small town, so the Hell House production has always been a "movie moment" goal for her. And this year's show promises to be the best ever. But then things begin to happen in the lives of her best friends around her, and she begins to doubt the words her father preaches. Add to that the new boy in town, and things are getting rather confusing in the once simple life of Lacey.
Small Town Sinners is an enthralling book. Predictable, yes, but it doesn't pretend to want to surprise you with its actions. I had not heard of the phenomena of Hell Houses before this books, and found myself fascinated with the whole experience. Lacey was an unbelievably raw character. As the reader is pulled along through her doubt and re-invention of herself, Lacey remains unflinching honest. Melissa Walker wants to tell an authentic, open story, bold and without apology. Teen readers will have characters to identify with and are sure to find similarities in their own rebellion against their parents. I also think this is an important book for teens to read, not just for the lesson in thinking for yourself, but also for the beautiful love story that is equally as much the point of Lacey's journey. This is the first book of Walker's I have read, but I will definitely pick up her others to give them a whirl!
Overall Rating: 5 Stars