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Days of Little Texas
ISBN: 9780375955938
Author: Nelson, R. A.
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published: July 2009
Retail: $19.99    OUR PRICE: $2.99
     You Save 85%
Binding Type: Library Binding
Annotation: "A ghostly love story from the author of "Teach Me.
Welcome, all ye faithful--and otherwise--to a ghost story, a romance, and a reckoning unlike anything you've read before. Acclaimed YA author R. A. Nelson delivers a tantalizing tale set in the environs of the evangelical revival circuit and centered around Ronald Earl, who at ten became the electrifying "boy wonder" preacher known as Little Texas. Now sixteen, though the faithful still come and roar with praise and devotion, Ronald Earl is beginning to have doubts that he is worthy of and can continue his calling. Doubts that only intensify when his faith and life are tested by a mysterious girl who he was supposed to have healed, but who is now showing up at the fringe of every stop on the circuit. Is she merely devoted, or is she haunting him? Fascinating and original, this is an unusual story whose reverb will be deeply felt and which will inspire lively book discussion.

"From the Hardcover edition."

Additional Information
Physical Information: 400 pages
Bargain Category: Science Fiction, Reference, Middle School, High School, Growing Up, Fantasy
Grade level(s): 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Spring)
Ronald Earl, a.k.a. "Little Texas," has been preaching since he was ten. Now, at almost sixteen, he begins to doubt his calling--just as a mysterious ghostly figure appears. The protagonist's compelling first-person narration, peppered with biblical language, is full of relatable uncertainty. As the story accelerates, readers will find themselves startled by both the personal and actual demons Little Texas must face. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2009 July #1)

Ronald Earl, at the center of this multidimensional coming-of-age/ghost story, earned the moniker "Little Texas" at age 10, after performing a spontaneous healing while touring with his great-aunt's tent-revival ministry. But at 16, burgeoning sexual feelings and the apparition of a girl named Lucy, who died when he failed to heal her, cause Ronald to question his integrity as a spiritual leader. When Ronald loses his composure on stage, his great-aunt and his two evangelical companions take him to a former slave plantation to deliver what is hoped to be his greatest sermon and to drive out a malicious force there. However, Ronald's understanding of the spiritual realm becomes even murkier as his relationship with Lucy develops. A chilling yet tender presence, Lucy challenges Ronald's beliefs with provocative insights: people who do "evil things" are "Already in hell. Nothing can be worse... than to live the life they are already living," she explains. At a dramatic final crossroads, Ronald discovers a kind of personal solace, but Nelson (Breathe My Name) offers no easy revelations, instead suggesting that human nature may be as unknowable as the supernatural. Ages 12–up. (July)

[Page 52]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2009 October)

Gr 7–10—Ronald Earl, aka Little Texas, almost 16, has been on the road with his Aunt Wanda Joy, elderly Sugar Tom, and Certain Certain for nigh on six years, preaching the gospel and performing healings in a long succession of small Southern towns. Lately he feels a fraud, bedeviled by recurring dreams of being with a beautiful blond girl, naked. Sincere in his faith, he's nevertheless beginning to doubt his work, his worthiness. Exhausted after a night's work, he performs one last healing on a girl, Lucy, that feels different. As the days pass, he can't stop thinking about her as she melds with the girl of his dreams. When a large, boisterous crowd in Mississippi cows him, he leaves the stage, unable to preach. Wanda Joy hatches a plan to get him back on track that will test his faith and may, if he's able, defeat the evil that ruined her grandfather on the same site, years before. Are the women in Ronald's life working for good, or ill? A substantial subtext about twisted souls ensnared by slavery leads to increasingly scary and disturbing events, culminating in a showdown with evil reminiscent of M. T. Anderson's climactic battle in Thirsty (Candlewick, 1997). Chapters are brief, the pace is rapid, and the tension is high as Ronald wrestles with demons both temporal and spiritual to find his place in the world. An affecting and sharply written story.—Joel Shoemaker, South East Junior High School, Iowa City, IA

[Page 132]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.