r.a. nelson


"blew me away"

-publishers weekly galley talk

"spine chilling"


"gorgeous love story"



-read for your future

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There is this girl in my dream.
She has blonde hair washing down her back and eyes so blue, it makes me want to pray. Only this isn’t a praying dream.
I’m with the blonde headed girl in this big empty farmhouse. The rooms are large, and they go on and on.
In my Father’s house are many mansions.
The girl is covered with a bed sheet that billows and ripples. We walk around a while till we come to a room painted all in white with a mattress on the floor. It puts me in mind of that story in the New Testament where Jesus tells the lame man, Take up thy bed and walk. We sit on the mattress together, and my heart puffs up like a maypop ready to pitch out all its seeds.
The blonde headed girl smiles the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen. Then she drops the bed sheet, and she doesn’t have any clothes on. Not one stitch. But—oh Lord—I’m buck naked, too.
I lie down alongside the naked girl, and we stretch out skin to skin. We look at each other a little while not saying a word. Finally I have to reach over and touch her, and she feels so good and warm and soft, and I can’t stop. Can’t stop touching her. Then she touches me. Touches me in places nobody ever touched me before. Nobody. And the touching gets better and better till—
I wake up, and the Devil is standing over me.
I nearly scream. But there is no Devil; it’s only one of Sugar Tom’s suit coats hanging on the door. The real world floods back in—I’m in the motor home with him and Miss Wanda Joy. I look out my small window and see lights winking in the Alabama gloom.
I sneak to the other end of the motor home, heart near bursting from shame.
Do they know? Did they see? Hear anything?
But nobody else is awake. Thank the Lord it’s still dark.
When I close my eyes again, all I can see is the Lake of Fire, big lumps of brimstone burning on its banks. And I feel like I’m dying.

“downright scary”
- bookpage

“intense supernatural climax”
- bulletin of the center for children’s books ★starred

- publishers weekly ★starred

- the horn book guide

“will surprise readers expecting a holy-roller experience"
- teensreadtoo.com

“pace is rapid…marvelous”
- school library journal

"thrilling…gripping page-turner”
- teenreads.com

“ghostly suspense”
- parents' choice awards

“twisting tale…gothic…a rollicking read”
- san antonio express-news

“intense…will get readers thinking”
- booklist

“the book is a wonder”
- the goddess of ya literature

- infodad.com family-focused reviews

“will have adults and teens staying up all night”
- news and sentinel best books of the year

“haunting…highly recommend”
- flamingnet young adult top choice award

nominated for rodda book award
and yalsa amazing audiobooks

nominated for

children's choice book awards

maine state library

cream of the crop list