Lacey Anne Byer wants her movie moment. For once in her life, she wants all eyes on her. Lacey hopes that her moment will come in this year’s annual Hell House, a church performance that portrays the horrors of sin and the need for God in the lives of all people. This year, Lacey wants to be the star of the show and help people find God in their lives.
However, Lacey’s small, Christian town is changing. Ty Davis has moved into town. He is smart and cute, but he questions his faith. As Lacey tries to get his life back on the right track, she starts to see cracks in the religion she has always known and trusted. Will Hell House bring her back to her faith or will it just leave more unanswered questions?
Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker has incredibly religious themes. Its characters preach the values of Christianity on almost every page. The way certain sins, such as abortion and homosexuality, are condemned by Lacey’s church may be offensive to some readers.
Before this novel, I was oblivious to the existence of Hell Houses. As a resident of one of the most politically, religiously, and socially diverse and accepting cities in the world, I was unaware of the closed-mindedness experienced in other towns throughout America. It annoyed and appalled me that people in this day in age can be so narrow minded.
Melissa Walker doesn’t present the Christian views in a particularly judgmental way. She offers realistic portrayals of Christian teens without harshness or cruelty. I have to applaud the delicateness with which Walker handles such controversial topics.
Small Town Sinners doesn’t encourage a complete upheaval of past beliefs but, rather, suggests that the readers develop their own personal opinions and ideas. Sometimes all you need is a little push to become the person you were meant to be. Although you may not agree with the characters’ opinions, I do recommend the book and found it very thought provoking.
Victoria Testa lives in New York City but is a beach bum at heart. When not writing or reading, she can be found surfing, swimming, and singing!