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Small Town Sinners

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  1,265 ratings  ·  221 reviews

Lacey Anne Byer is a perennial good girl and lifelong member of the House of Enlightenment, the Evangelical church in her small town. With her driver's license in hand and the chance to try out for a lead role in Hell House, her church's annual haunted house of sin, Lacey's junior year is looking promising. But when a cute new stranger comes to town, something begins to

Hardcover, 273 pages
Published July 19th 2011 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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Average rating 3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,265 ratings  ·  221 reviews

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Aug 15, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Not even the trolls

Why I didn't read past chapter seven:

- Main character is a Mary Sue.
- Main character's boyfriend is also a Mary Sue. Gary.. Stu?
- They can't stop thinking about each other right after they've exchanged words for the first time... Romantic, right? No!
- He stalks her.
- She creeps up on him.
- They go out the second day they meet each other.
- This is just plain stupid.
- I hate my life.
- I hate my life even more after this.
- I want chocolate.

Gosh, I am so sick and tired of the main characters m
Jan 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, high-school, bullying
I waited a long time to read Melissa Walker’s Small Town Sinners; faith and religion can be incendiary topics, and I worried about how a YA author would handle such divisive topics. Glowing reviews from authors I respect and admire (and a sharply discounted price for the ebook) finally convinced me to take a chance.

Lacey Anne Byer is a parson’s daughter, nearly sixteen. With her best friends Starla Joy and Dean, she is eagerly awaiting her church’s annual Hell House, a haunted-house like event
Aug 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: signed-arcs
lissa Walker, I have one word for you... WOW.

Normally Small Town Sinners is not the type of book I would go for. Had it not been Melissa Walker, an author that I absolutely adore, I'm not sure I would have picked this book up. And I would have been upset with myself later!

I'm not an overly religious person. I've struggled with my faith throughout my teen years and into my adulthood... it's still something that I struggle with now. I usually avoid reading books about it for that very reason. And
Aug 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
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
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If there's one thing I learned from the comments section, it's that nothing turns IBWB readers off more than a mention of religious themes. Well, tough. SMALL TOWN SINNERS is chock-full of religion and it's a wonderful book.

Lacey Anne Byer is a sixteen-year-old girl, excited about performing in the Hell House put on by House of Enlightenment, her church. The Hell House is similar to a haunted house, but each room represents a sin. Lacey wants to be Abortion Girl, because that's the message she's
Mar 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2012
Upon first glance, Small Town Sinners draws you in. The cover definitely does the book justice, and the name itself is provocative and intriguing. Many of us realize however, that it is not the cover or even the title that makes a book, it is the content inside. And in the case of Melissa Walker's novel, the content inside is definitely breathtaking. Small Town Sinners is the story of a sixteen year old girl in a very small town. In her town, where religion plays a major role, she is seen as the ...more
Apr 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(a similar version of this review can be found here at Into the Hall of Books:

Okay, you guys, a book like this one is a perfect example of why I am so glad I am doing this Contemporary Month: I have found a new author to love! Small Town Sinners is the second book I have read by Melissa C. Walker. I picked it up just minutes after finishing her latest book, Unbreak My Heart. What I have learned from these two books is that this author is not afraid to t
Sarah BT
Aug 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
About the Book: Lacey Anne Byers has always been a good girl. She's grown up in the church, followed the rules, and she's never questioned anything. Lacey is excited to try out for a lead role in her church's Hell House production. When Ty Davis moves to town, Lacey befriends him. He's smart, funny, and Lacey likes him-a lot. Lacey can talk to Ty about her faith, something her friends have never discussed much. Ty asks questions that Lacey has never asked and she begins to doubt if everything is ...more
Apr 22, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this novel in one day what means that I liked it. Not as much as Lovestruck Summer so it has to be one star down (since it can't be 3.5). I couldn't put it down until the last page because I was really anxious to find out the message. It was fun and light read and I liked the diversity of characters (Starla Joy and Ty being among my favorites!) though I was really annoyed by some other like Lacey's parents with all their rules and restrictions and kinda shallow explanations offering prett ...more
Aug 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Melissa Walker writes some of the best contemporary fiction out there and Small Town Sinners, her newest release, is no different of course. Because quite simply Small Town Sinners manages to have it all: relatable and charming main characters, real-life situations that can apply to basically any reader's life, some funny parts, and smooth writing that keeps the reader constantly entranced in the book at hand.

Small Town Sinners tells the tale of Lacey Bryer. Lacey's always been the good girl th
Jun 05, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book did not set with me well, the story line was cute trying to question God learn your own voice when it comes to beliefs. The part of the story that I did not like was about the gay marriage and abortions that are in there hell house plays. This is a book I would not want my teen to read alone I would only let the read with someone who has read this book with the belief as ours, just so someone could help with them with the questions that they may develop with reading this book. I do thi ...more
Oct 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Melissa Walker’s newest book, Small Town Sinners, is a story that provides no easy answers when it comes to spirituality, love, growing up, or being a teenager. It is a heartfelt look into the questions that arise when teens start to develop their own thoughts and are no longer are satisfied with the answers parents provide.

Synopsis: The story of Lacey Anne Byer, 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 a
Tee loves Kyle Jacobson
Warning: This book is a must read! You will not be able to put it down. Melissa has weaved a story that makes you think about everything you were taught between right and wrong.

My Rating: 5 of 5

My Cover Thoughts: I so love this cover. It captivated me because you see a girl lying down on the ground holding her eyes while an apple with a heart in it is laying a few inches away from her. It makes you wonder if she had her heart broken.

My Thoughts/Review: WOW Melissa did an awesome job weaving a st
Jul 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lacey Anne Byer has always been the good girl. She obeys her nine o’clock curfew, attends church regularly, and never argues with her parents. She’s never minded not being the center of attention, but this year, Lacey is definitely ready for a movie moment or at least something more than ordinary. This year, she’s determined to land a good role in Hell House, her church’s way of teaching about sin and drawing new people to their faith. She’s sure that’ll be her chance to shine. But then Ty Davis ...more
Jul 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Small Town Sinners follows Lacy a sixteen year old Evangelical Christian who has always seen the world as black and white. Now that she is a Junior Lacy is eligible to audition for a part in her churches hell house (a horror house that leads viewers through various sins) and Lacy wants to be the abortion girl. Through a series of events including an old friend returning to town and her sisters best friend's pregnancy Lacy starts to wonder if the world is as black and white as she has always beli ...more
Feb 10, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In a balance of form and craft over content, it's easy to tell what tipped the scale here. The concept is an interesting one: our main character, Lacey, is a preacher's kid and active in her church's youth group. The plot revolves around her involvement with a new boy in town with a questionable background and how their relationship conflicts with her zeal for her youth group's Hell House production, a radical outreach event in which Lacey plays a girl condemned to hell for getting an abortion. ...more
Sep 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very different book, but one that I really enjoyed. I wasn't sure what to expect when I first started reading it, but once I got into it I realized that the situations in this book are probably much more prevalent in the world than most of us realize. I loved how Lacey tried to figure out what was best for her while still trying to balance all of the beliefs she had been brought up on. I think your teenage years are difficult in general because of the pressures you face both internall ...more
Jen Petro-Roy
Oct 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, 2011
I really loved this book, especially as someone who started to question her faith in her early twenties. Though this was a quiet book, and fairly short, I am in awe at how deeply Walker developed Lacey Anne. This should be required reading for all teens, whether religious or not.
Katrina Burchett
Lacey Anne Byer is the daughter of Pastor Ted and Theresa Byer. She loves the small town she lives in, a tight knit community where everybody sees her as the `good girl' who would never break the rules. She has had two close friends since pre-school, Starla Joy and Dean and they all worship at the House of Enlightenment. Lacey was raised by Christian parents who taught her to study the Word and look to the Word in times of trouble. She also wears the purity ring her father got for her when she t ...more
Reading Teen
Feb 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading only a few pages of Small Town Sinners, I began to have an uneasy feeling. I quickly learn that Lacey Anne Byer is the only child of the Children's Pastor of The House of Enlightenment Church and his wife. They live in a small town somewhere in the midwest and the church is a major influence in their town. The fact that I am a Christian myself causes me to be sensitive to how God, Jesus, the Bible and the church are portrayed. As I read, I was concerned about the tone that the auth ...more
Jun 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Small Town Sinners was a book that I didn't expect to enjoy so much. Generally, I try not to read books that deal too much about religion/faith, and it seems like the Christian faith is getting more exposure in YA novels. In Small Town Sinners, Lacey is super excited to be auditioning for this year's Hell House, her church's annual haunted house of sin that serves as an outreach program as well. But when a cute new stranger, Ty, comes to town, something begins to stir inside her. As her feelings ...more
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved SMALL TOWN SINNERS so much because I could really relate to Lacey. No, I didn't grow up in a devoutly religious home, or a small town where everyone knows everyone else's business, or even around Hell Houses. But I did grow up trying to please everyone but myself, and I still feel like I don't really know who "I" am. The "who am I" question is a question that everyone deals with at some point in their life, and I just adore the way Lacey begins to find herself. (The literary term for a " ...more
This was the last book in the original Contemps Challenge so I was excited to dive in. I was also intrigued by the presence of religion, something so important in my life but something that doesn't usually appear in many YA books and by the plot element of "hell houses," something I find *so* creepy. But first a brief summary.

Lacey lives in a small town as an only child of conservative Christian parents. Church is a big part of her life and she's thrilled that she's finally old enough to a. driv
Steph Su
Nov 05, 2010 rated it liked it
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 t
Jen  Bigheart
Jul 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars

What a refreshing book! I honestly don't think I've read anything like this story. I know of a few recent YAs that have religious undertones, but this is the first (for me) where the overall theme is faith and sin. This story reminds me a lot of my own childhood. I grew up in a strict Christian home and I found myself wanting to rebel the second I turned 14. I was just like Lacey, I wanted to find my own way and start to make decisions based on what I believed, and not necessarily what
Aug 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Discovery: I’ve actually been looking for YA books that discuss religion, so when I heard about Small Town Sinners, I decided to avoid any reviews and read it for myself.

+ Focus on human struggles. I loved that the church itself wasn’t the focus of this novel. I find that it’s become very easy to accuse any religion of being wrong simply on the basis of human action and it was refreshing to see that Melissa Walker was fair in her portrayal of evangelical Christianity. In the hours since I read i
Sep 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
Lacey's always known what her path in life is supposed to be, and she follows it like the good Christian girl she is. Right now she's hoping for a lead in the church's annual Hell House,so she can be on the front lines saving souls. Then Ty comes to town, and Lacey begins to question her beliefs for the first time. Just because you know something's right, does it mean it's right for everybody? What if faith's not something you're given, but something you have to earn for yourself?

This is a pow
Sep 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my first Melissa Walker book, and will by no means be the last. Melissa Walker has filled the pages of Small Town Sinners with relatable character, every day events that affect communities, and wonderful writing. The moment I finished reading, I had a strong urge to go and start reading it over again.

Lacey is a character everyone can relate to. She is the all-religious girl, but as the book goes on you see her exploring her faith. I think a lot of us go through that, you see her question
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nook
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
Jul 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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