SMALL TOWN SINNERS
A non-judgmental, nuanced, fascinating look at the teenage religious right. Walker debuts with an outstanding contemporary novel with a cast of characters who, far from being portrayed as hateful zealots, are relatable for readers of all faiths. The extremism of Hell House is tempered by the perfectly understandable attitudes and intentions of Lacey Anne, who struggles with what it means to grow up, to question and to think for herself.
Lacey Anne Byer is a good girl. She loves her small Bible Belt town, her best friends and her mom and dad, and she wears her purity ring with pride and absolute certainty. And now that she’s old enough to participate in her church’s annual outreach, Hell House, she’s anticipating her movie moment, when her compelling performance will help bring sinners into the evangelical fold. But then Ty Davis returns to West River, and Hell House suddenly seems awfully extreme. Lacey begins to doubt everything she’s always believed about right and wrong, sin and virtue. (BLOOMSBURY, Jul., 272 pp., $16.99, ISBN: 9781599905273, HC, 14 & Up)