Wow. This book really hit a cord for me. I know first hand what it feels like to question a religious belief and have others get angry and even shun you as being a 'bad' influence. One comment by Dean, who doesn't exactly fit in with his Christian group, really hit me:
...School is one thing, but I thought that church was different. Like a safety zone..."
Wow, very true. This took me back to a eighth grade gym class in Sacramento where I was ganged up on for being 'different'. What was sad is those in my church, who I thought would stand up for me, either turned away or joined in. Some say that is a stereotype but for me and Dean in this story, this is a sad truth.
The characters in this novel are real and very believable. And the Hell House was something else. Apparently these houses really exist. I thought it interesting how Lacey at first wants to be Abortion girl in the play until her best friend's sister gets pregnant. Then she sees things differently. And when Ty comes back to town, with a 'bad' reputation, Lacey is torn on her growing attraction to him and her parents telling her to stay away from him.
I think the biggest thing about this story is it shows a teen who at first is afraid to question the faith she grew up with and how at the end she grows confident enough to do just that. It doesn't attack religion but handles this sensitive subject in a believable way.
A great coming of age story.
2. The whole questioning faith and feeling a range of emotions that include guilt felt very real to me