MELISSA WALKER is one of our DEAR BULLY contributors, and before I tour her new book, SMALL TOWN SINNERS, Melissa is here to talk about her essay that she contributed to DEAR BULLY:
"Because of the essay I wrote for
, I've had some old friends on my mind. There was a group of four of us in 8th grade, one of whom was sort of the ringleader of meanness. One day, the other three of us turned on her. But instead of saying, "Stop being mean," we ostracized her and cut her off completely. Not real mature.
In chronicling this episode for the anthology, another friend on the periphery of our circle, Beth, popped into my head. I remember that just after the showdown happened with my friends, she would ask me how this ostracized friend was doing, tell me she worried about her, hoped she was okay. It made me think about the "mean friend"'s side of things in a way I hadn't done before.
I reconnected with Beth on Facebook and told her about how much her 8th grade poise and wisdom impressed and stayed with me. She, naturally, coudn't remember the incident--it was just in her nature to be that kind. I can't wait to read the rest of the
stories and hope that there are more full-circle moments for the authors who contributed and the readers who check it out. "
Readers should definitely check out SMALL TOWN SINNERS, which recently got this great review in the New York Times:
~~~~~~more about Melissa's new book~~~~~~~~~
It's Small Town Sinners' Book Birthday Week!
Does falling in love mean falling out of faith?
“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 stir inside her. Ty Davis doesn't know the sweet, shy Lacey Anne Byer everyone else does. With Ty, Lacey could reinvent herself. As her feelings for Ty make Lacey test her boundaries, events surrounding Hell House make her question her religion."
A few reviews:
"Walker has written a credible and tender evocation of the moment when a young person’s beliefs begin to emerge and potentially diverge from the teachings of a family’s religion... Near the end, Lacey contemplates a verse from the prophet Isaiah: 'Come now and let us reason together.' It’s a good summation of what Walker asks of her characters and, by extension, of her readers." --The New York Times Book Review
"A non-judgmental, nuanced, fascinating look at the teenage religious right... Walker writes 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." --Romantic Times
"Both tender and provocative... Walker creates an astutely balanced portrait of a conservative congregation's in-your-face response to perennial issues of domestic abuse, teen pregnancy, and suicide, as well as of those who struggle to fit the prescribed Christian mold." --Publishers Weekly
So, it's out this week! The first week of a book's life is VERY important. And you can help me spread the word! Here's how:
2) Shout it from the rooftops! Might I be so bold as to ask you to tell everyone you know about it? Tweet it. Facebook it. Goodreads it. Oh my! Look, handy buttons:
3) Come see me read! I’ll be at Books of Wonder in NYC (18 W. 18th Street) on Thursday, July 28th with fellow authors Sarah Porter (Lost Voices) and Aprilynne Pike (Illusions).