What I'm Reading: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker

I purchased this book back in October at the Austin Teen Book Festival. I hadn't ever read a book by Melissa Walker, and I didn't make it to her panel at ATBF either, so I was very unfamiliar with her. As a result, this book ended up staying on my shelf until I pulled it down over the weekend. Now that I've read it, I'm kicking myself for not reading it sooner.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: Does falling in love mean falling out of faith? Small Town Sinners is the story of Lacey, a small-town girl who is excited to star in Hell House, her church's annual haunted house of sin, until a childhood friend reappears and makes her question her faith.

What I Liked: 1) Lacey. I just...understood her so well. She was a lot like 16-year-old me in a lot of ways. Well...maybe more like 14 year old me. I was more outgoing once I hit sixteen. But, her good girl, shy personality. That's all familiar. But what really hit home was the questions she had about her faith. It's the questions that I've always been too afraid to ask. Too worried that my own faith would be called into question if I vocalized my wonderings. Okay, before this becomes a religious discussion...2) The Hell House concept. I know places have them for Halloween, but it's nothing I've ever experienced, and I'd like to some day. I wonder what it would be like. I tried to visualize the different parts, because I felt like they'd been described in detail. It usually works for me, but this is something I'd like to see in person. I think. 3) The secondary characters. I consider everyone other than Lacey to be a secondary character in this book. Maybe some wouldn't consider Ty secondary, as he is part of the reason Lacey is lead to her questions. But I think she would have gotten there without his influence anyway. Maybe I'm projecting myself onto her because I see so many similarities between us, but still. His influence is, in my opinion, no greater than the influence of Dean and his struggles, Starla Joy and Tessa and their struggles, and Lacey's parents. But together, these characters create a circle of influence around her and they all lead to her questions and ultimately, her answers.

What I Didn't Like: Nothing.

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.

My rating: 5 shots


  1. This sounds like a really awesome book. I was looking at it last week on B&N and thought about getting it. Thanks for the fantastic review.

  2. I wasn't a huge fan of this book through most of it, but then I realized it was mostly because I was expecting it to be something different than it was. Once I adjusted my expectations, I started liking it better. I'm glad you liked it so much! Book Light Graveyard

  3. Amy - It truly stunned me with how great I thought it was. I hope you get a chance to read it!

    Karen - I understand that! I think I went in with no expectations, and then I was just floored by what I got out of it.

    Thanks for stopping by!


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