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
Small Town Sinners
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
There were so many things I loved about Small Town Sinners that I'm not even sure where to start. I thought it was cool to be exposed to different beliefs. Lacey's beliefs in right and wrong were so much more black and white than anything I've ever experienced. It's a crazy to thing to have everything you've ever known to be right suddenly come into question, but that's precisely what happens to Lacey.
Going into the book I thought Ty was going to be in the middle of everything. I thought he would be this bad boy tempting Lacey, but it wasn't anything like that and I think that's one of the reasons I love it so much. Sure, he was the catalyst, but the way it goes down it really could have been anyone. Ty comes in and just makes Lacey think for herself a bit. And that's his main role. It's not like he was just shoved in there to make the plot move along, but he's also not the focal point with Lacey all lusting after him or anything. The main story was really all about Lacey's struggle with what she believed in and I can't put into words how much I absolutely loved that.
I think I'll just stop it here before I make you guys read an entire novel about this book :P
Final Thoughts: If you're looking for a contemporary that will make you think and isn't all about the guy and the romance, this is definitely the book you want. If you're afraid of it being too preachy, don't be. This is just a story about a girl who realizes she may not believe what she's always been told.