Days of Little Texas

Days of Little Texas

4.2 5
by R. A. Nelson
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

A ghostly love story from the author of Teach Me.

Welcome, all ye faithful—and otherwise—to a ghost story, a romance, and a reckoning unlike anything you’ve read before. Acclaimed YA author R. A. Nelson delivers a tantalizing tale set in the environs of the evangelical revival circuit and centered around Ronald Earl, who at ten became the

See more details below

Overview

A ghostly love story from the author of Teach Me.

Welcome, all ye faithful—and otherwise—to a ghost story, a romance, and a reckoning unlike anything you’ve read before. Acclaimed YA author R. A. Nelson delivers a tantalizing tale set in the environs of the evangelical revival circuit and centered around Ronald Earl, who at ten became the electrifying “boy wonder” preacher known as Little Texas. Now sixteen, though the faithful still come and roar with praise and devotion, Ronald Earl is beginning to have doubts that he is worthy of and can continue his calling. Doubts that only intensify when his faith and life are tested by a mysterious girl who he was supposed to have healed, but who is now showing up at the fringe of every stop on the circuit. Is she merely devoted, or is she haunting him? Fascinating and original, this is an unusual story whose reverb will be deeply felt and which will inspire lively book discussion.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, July 6, 2009:
“Nelson offers no easy revelations, instead suggesting that human nature may be as unknowable as the supernatural."

Starred Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October 2009:
"The book's ethos, subtly evoked through its multidimensional characters, internal and external historical and contemporary conflicts, and intense supernatural climax, is one of a fully realized and respectful humanity, with all of its capacity for cruelty and kindness, spirituality and sinfulness, and ultimately, forgiveness and release."

Publishers Weekly

Ronald Earl, at the center of this multidimensional coming-of-age/ghost story, earned the moniker "Little Texas" at age 10, after performing a spontaneous healing while touring with his great-aunt's tent-revival ministry. But at 16, burgeoning sexual feelings and the apparition of a girl named Lucy, who died when he failed to heal her, cause Ronald to question his integrity as a spiritual leader. When Ronald loses his composure on stage, his great-aunt and his two evangelical companions take him to a former slave plantation to deliver what is hoped to be his greatest sermon and to drive out a malicious force there. However, Ronald's understanding of the spiritual realm becomes even murkier as his relationship with Lucy develops. A chilling yet tender presence, Lucy challenges Ronald's beliefs with provocative insights: people who do "evil things" are "Already in hell. Nothing can be worse... than to live the life they are already living," she explains. At a dramatic final crossroads, Ronald discovers a kind of personal solace, but Nelson (Breathe My Name) offers no easy revelations, instead suggesting that human nature may be as unknowable as the supernatural. Ages 12-up. (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Ronald Earl, better known has "Little Texas," started preaching at the age of ten. Now he is 16 and, although he still feels the "power of the holy spirit," he has started to have a few doubts. His days are spent on the road with Church of the Hand family—Miss Wanda Jean, his great-aunt; Sugar Tom, an 87-year-old former evangelist; and his main confidant and friend, Certain Certain, a descendent from slaves. Ronald Earl's growing awareness of the opposite sex—and the physical manifestations it brings to his body—cause him to worry about his calling and his sinfulness. While he can still bring the congregation to tears with the impact of his message and his ability to heal, he wonders if he really wants to continue. When Lucy's parents bring her to him for healing, things start to change. The healing doesn't work and she begins to "haunt" him. Miss Wanda Jean arranges for a revival at a plantation where slaves were mistreated and where the "devil" appeared during a revival many years ago. Both Ronald Earl and the ghost of Lucy worry about what might happen and, in an uneasy alliance of boy and ghost, work to free the "blue people" who are trapped in death. R. A. Nelson's novel (Knopf, 2009), a marvelous blend of religion and romance, the supernatural and coming-of-age, works on many levels with its strong, colorful characters and the intricate plot's twists and turns. Narrator Luke Daniels nails Little Texas's Georgia accent as well as the voices of the other characters, making the book come alive.—Janet Hilbun, Texas Women's University, Denton
Kirkus Reviews
An intriguing premise collapses in Nelson's latest (Breathe My Name, 2006). Ronald Earl is Little Texas, a teen preacher with healing hands and growing doubts, whose ministry has only three other players-an old preacher, Ronald Earl's great-aunt, a revivalist by birth, inclination and trade, and Certain Certain, who exists primarily to make the plot work. Three competing elements-a crisis of faith, a ghostly love story (with Lucy, a girl Little Texas failed to save) and a haunted plantation-never quite jell. Poor pacing unbalances the whole, and many plot points never quite make sense or seem contrived, from how the ministry operates to Certain Certain's convenient flair for exposition. Some issues-Lucy's connection to the plantation-might be attributable to God's mysterious plan, but even Ronald Earl has trouble with that. The story's moral grounding in the evils of slavery is heavy-handed, and too much is telegraphed for the first-person narration to feel genuine, despite the skillful, colorful language. Ultimately, no amount of faith can fill the holes checkering this one. (Paranormal fiction. 12 & up)

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375855931
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
07/14/2009
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile:
HL610L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

R. A. Nelson made an exhilarating YA debut with the “by turns terrifying [and] poetic” Teach Me ( Horn Book) and followed that up with the “incandescent” (Kirkus) Breathe My Name. He lives with his family in north Alabama.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >