Small Town Sinners

Small Town Sinners

by Melissa Walker


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781599909820
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 01/22/2013
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Melissa Walker has worked as ELLEgirl Features Editor and Seventeen Prom Editor. She is the author of the Violet on the Runway series as well as Lovestruck Summer. Melissa manages a daily newsletter, I Heart Daily, and handles blogging for, an online book community that won the 2009 National Book Award for Innovations in Reading.

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Small Town Sinners 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
FuzzyCoffeeBooks More than 1 year ago
Overall thoughts: This book stunned me. I've been thinking about it with alarming consistency ever since I finished it. It's very thought-provoking. I loved absolutely everything about it, so much so that I've had a hard time putting my thoughts into words. One of the highest compliments I can pay to a book is that I want to talk to people about it. Not just tell them to read it, but have lengthy conversations about what it is, what it means. In the way that scholars discuss Dickens, Shakespeare or Proust. And this book is one of those rarities. *ruined for all other books for now* Thank you, Melissa Walker, for writing this novel that displays truth in fiction.
NicAwesomeOle More than 1 year ago
As someone fascinated by Hell Houses and Evangelical Christian (I watch/read everything I can get my hands on in regards to these topics), I was excited when I heard about the concept of this book. And once I found out it was released, I snapped it up on my Nook. Thank GOODNESS for instant gratification. I liked that the question of one of the character's sexuality is never really answered because, in the eyes of the characters closest to this one, it doesn't matter. The cast of characters, as an ensemble, is very strong and very distinct--yet none of the characters overpowered one another. If I had to pick one problem with the novel , I would say that Lacey's parents were a bit unpredictable. One minute is was a sort of 'fire and brimstone' and then the next it seemed 'gentle as a lamb.' I understand that they were un-used to punishing her, but I think a grounding might have been something that might have been tried. It wasn't bothersome, again because I enjoyed the book and the depth to which Lacey could grow and expand to find herself. This book also brought up questions about double standards, and I really enjoyed the fact that it was questioned by the characters. Lacey earned my respect and kept it. If only everyone could be as dedicated to conscious thought and being in touch with their mind. The Abortion Girl line was a little odd. While an important topic, it was weird to see how much this girl wanted to be the character. It was almost perverse and, if you've seen the documentaries 'Hell House' and 'Jesus Camp' you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's clear that author Melissa Walker not only did her research, but she kept characters real and believeable. I bought this for my Nook and I LOVE it. I can't wait to read it again.
ChelseaW More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not usually into this kind of books but I was dying to read this book. In the book you can see how faith is put into test and how other people faith can be overbeearing. There's a bit of romance but the book is mainly about faith. I loved the book and it reflected a lot how I feel sometimes, since I go to a private Christian school and even thought I believe in God sometimes I think my teachers are wrong but they use God word to make it right, which honestly makes me mad. So I definitely recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! Loved it! I have never read anything with the Hell House topic and I found it and this book very interesting! Very well written and enjoyable!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. The characters are very well developed, making them very likable. Two thumbs up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
stephxsu on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Good-girl Lacey Anne Byer is the darling of her town¿s steadfastly evangelical church. Lacey can¿t wait to star in a leading role in Hell House, an annual event her church puts on in order to illustrate dangerous sins and encourage visitors to devote themselves to Christ. However, as unexpected events take place¿members of the church are discovered to have performed the very sins they condemn¿Lacey is forced to reexamine her faith and her beliefs, in order to carve out the best future for herself.YA contemporary fiction just gets more and more stunning in their nuanced, relatable, and thought-provoking treatments of difficult subjects. Melissa Walker¿s latest novel, SMALL TOWN SINNERS, is arguably the best examination of religious evangelism that I have read in YA fiction. Its sympathetic cast of characters and the careful way it treads the middle ground between black and white make it a superb literary accomplishment.Religion is, as ever, a sensitive topic, one that is often difficult to talk about due to its highly personal and subjective manner. Which is why what Melissa Walker does in SMALL TOWN SINNERS is so impressive. Virtually all of the characters in this novel support rather unpopular and subjectively archaic positions on today¿s controversial hot topics like abortion and gay marriage. However, rather than simply demonizing religious evangelists, Walker deftly makes all of her characters likeable, or at the very least sympathetic. It¿s easy to hate issues and take solid stances on them when they are distant. However, when the issues hit home¿when they become personal¿is what SMALL TOWN SINNERS does so well. Walker shows that things such as faith and beliefs are individual and personal. This is a lesson that everyone could care to learn and promote.The theme of SMALL TOWN SINNERS is a wonderful one, which makes up for the fact that sometimes, I felt like the characters were a little¿mild. Lacey is a great protagonist in that she really captures the ambiguity of questioning her church-based faith, but there are times when I wanted her to be more than simply a mind-churning, tears-swallowing, does-he-like-me-or-not girlie-girl. Lacey¿s best friend Starla Joy is said to be this more gregarious and outspoken girl, but she doesn¿t very often display that. Ty, the supposed love interest, is, in my opinion, blown a bit out of proportion in the book¿s synopsis. In SMALL TOWN SINNERS, romance definitely takes a backseat to the more compelling plotline of characters questioning their former beliefs. In fact, one may even think that the romance is a little lacking, a little too contrived.But these minor qualms of mine regarding the characters don¿t really matter in light of the book¿s larger message. I love that the characters of SMALL TOWN SINNERS change over the course of the story¿but in a way that stays true to who they are, and the way they were brought up. Needless to say, this is probably one of the most skilled and nuanced portrayals of extreme religion I¿ve read in YA literature. All sorts of readers, I think, find this book compelling and eye-opening.
BrandisBookMusings on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Small Town Sinners is about a girl named Lacey Ann who has grown up in a very religious community which her and her family are actively involved in. Lacey always does what she is told, but when the new guy comes to town things change. This book doesn't question the Christian religion, but it question blindly following something just because someone tells you to, it asks the question is everything always black and white, and it asks can you have your faith and still follow your heart. This was a pretty good book. The only problems I had was there wasn't enough action of any kind for me. The characters' problem weren't wrapped up enough at the end for me either. Overall this was a pretty good book though that I found relatable and would recommend.
foggidawn on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker was all right but not great. It's a fairly standard storyline: there's a Good Girl in a small town, and Complicated, Handsome Stranger shows up and makes her question all of her small-town beliefs.Good girl Lacey Byer wants nothing more than a fun junior year with her friends, and a starring role in her church's Hell House -- a Halloween production that the church puts on to dramatize the dreadful effects of sin. Enter Ty, a new boy in town with a slightly mysterious past. He attends church, but he's not a fan of the whole Hell House concept, and he questions a lot of the things that Lacey takes for granted as truth. As he and Lacey spend more time together, talking about all kinds of subjects, she starts to question things as well, especially when a scandal rocks their church community and not everyone responds in what Lacey would call a Christ-like manner.First off, I thought the author's handling of evangelical Christians was fairly sensitive -- a bit of a rarity, in mainstream YA fiction. The ending is not conclusive, Lacey doesn't throw off all restraint and completely turn her back on her faith, nor does she convert Ty to all of her childhood beliefs. I could see recommending this to evangelical teens, as well as to those who find that lifestyle completely alien but are a little curious about it. On the down-side, I found the writing utilitarian -- it was not riddled with errors, but there was nothing that elevated it out of the common run. Also, the big reveal about Ty's history was tamer than I expected, from all of the hype. I also had trouble with the size of the town as compared to the size of the church -- if it's a small enough town that everybody knows everybody, but the church is large enough to put on this huge production every year . . . it just took me out of the story a bit.
fayeflame on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Wow that was my life¿well minus Hell House week, but pretty much. It is one of my favorite contemps of the year!Walker creates re-latable characters that pretty much hit home for me. Growing up in a Christian family and having the same thoughts as Lacey. I saw myself in every character. I think at one point in everyone¿s life they question things and that just makes a better person. Stepping outside of the box, Breaking the mold.The strength and independence the characters portray really made me love them all, they are all trying to find themselves. Friendship really helps Lacey though it all, I loved how all her friends enlighten her in some way. Ty helps Lacey come out of her box. Everything was black and white to her until she starts to question everything, from hell house week to her friends Starla Joy and Dean, and growing relationship with Ty.I really liked how Walker creates a story with religion in it but doesn¿t try to preach to ya lol. I loved this book. It was a fabulous read. The ultimate contemp so far! When this book comes out everyone should get a copy! It¿s fun, captivating and genuine.(PS¿this is my first Melissa Walker book and it won¿t be the last because I¿m already hooked! )
Florinda on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Sixteen-year-old Lacey Anne Byer¿s dad is an assistant pastor at the small-town, charismatic-evangelical House of Enlightenment Church. They¿ve had the answers to every question Lacey¿s ever had about life and the world so far, and it¿s never occurred to her to have follow-up questions - or to seek answers anywhere else. On the verge of entering her junior year of high school, her biggest question concerns what role she¿ll land in Hell House, the church¿s twist on a Halloween haunted house in which ¿sinful choices¿ are dramatized, complete with fake blood, devils, and literally hellish consequences in the interest of saving souls; it¿s their biggest annual spiritual-outreach project. This is the first year Lacey will be old enough to audition, and she¿s after the role of ¿Abortion Girl.¿ But when a not-so-new boy moves into their town, Lacey¿s got something else to focus on. Not only is Ty good-looking and nice, he has questions of his own, and they make Lacey wonder if there might be different, more complex answers than the ones her church and family have been giving her.Despite the church-centered storyline, Small Town Sinners isn¿t terribly preachy, and I appreciated that. I also appreciated that while Melissa Walker has come up with a story in which the characters could have easily been drawn in one-dimensional black and white, she hasn¿t done that. Her engaging, church-centered small-town teens aren¿t goody-goodies, and their worldview is conveyed believably and respectfully. Meanwhile, the new kid in town isn¿t a bad-boy rebel; he¿s simply a boy with a different way of thinking - and in its way, in a setting like this, that can be equally threatening, and Walker accounts for that too. One more thing I appreciated is that she gives consideration to the reality that one may question a particular set of teachings about God separately from questioning one's personal faith in God. This is YA fiction for a mature-minded reader, which happens to be my favorite kind.Late adolescence is a natural time for questioning the beliefs one has grown up with, and I personally believe that questioning should be encouraged, not stifled. (Heck, I¿m still doing it, which is one reason I¿m part of this year¿s F&F Roundtable in the first place!) I¿m inclined to suspect that, by allowing the teenage characters in Small Town Sinners to question and grow and begin to operate within shades of gray, Melissa Walker feels the same way.
lisagibson on LibraryThing 25 days ago
I didn¿t know if I was going to like this book. I don¿t generally do well with anything that¿s one extreme or another. However, I did find that I really did enjoy this book. It was nice to see a different kind of character represented as well. Not much swearing and not much sex in this book and it was nice to see a more innocent side of teens and in today¿s world to boot. Ms. Walker¿s characters are very endearing. A group of friends whose bonds are as strong as steel, but willing to add another to their ranks was wonderful. It was also nice to see parents who were present, not clueless and not portrayed as the villains. Are Lacey's values strong enough to withstand a challenge? Will her family understand if Lacey's values aren't the same as theirs? The love story between Lacey and Ty was great and built slowly, which I liked. He respected her and was not the typical bad boy. I thought Ms. Walker's characters were unique and I liked them all. This book is yet another in the Contemps Challenge. I¿m giving it 4 ½ sweet innocent kisses!
jacindahinten on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Melissa¿s writing style is great and I read the entire book probably because of this and Ty. The religion and The Hell House in Small Town Sinners is what bothered me along with anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, and shipping pregnant girls to some institute to give birth. I know people and some religion based organizations or people not affiliated with religion DO believe in these things and this stuff does happen. The MC¿s father had me calling him bad names, I marked a certain passage he said that had my blood boiling. People should change and grow during a book and I didn¿t see enough of that for me. I understand change doesn¿t come overnight, but some things that were done/said were forgiven too easily for me. Just because you do one thing right doesn¿t mean it completely wipes out what you said prior especially when these items are unrelated. The main character also didn¿t fight back as much as I thought she should have. I¿ve seen some praises for this book, but after reading Small Town Sinners, I¿ve learned to stay away from novels touching on religious beliefs and possibly other taboo topics.
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Summer res 1