gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
Reasons for reading: I really enjoyed her Between, Georgia; this one has been on the TBR list for ages and since the sequel has come out I figured I should get it read , Place name book for What's in a Name? Challenge
Description: "For 10 years Arlene has kept her promises, and God has kept His end of the bargain. Until now. When an old schoolmate from Possett turns up at Arlene's door in Chicago asking questions about Jim Beverly, former quarterback and god of Possett High, Arlene's break with her former hometown is forced to an end. At the same time, Burr, her long-time boyfriend, has raised an ultimatum: introduce him to her family or consider him gone. Arlene loves him dearly but knows her lily white (not to mention deeply racist) Southern Baptist family will not understand her relationship with an African American boyfriend. Reluctantly, Arlene bows to the pressure, and she and Burr embark on the long-avoided road trip back home. As Arlene digs through guilt and deception, her patched-together alibi begins to unravel, and she discovers how far she will go for love and a chance at redemption."
First line: "There are gods in Alabama: "Jack Daniel's, high school quarterbacks, trucks, big tits, and also Jesus."
My thoughts: That's one of the best first lines I've read in ages!! I really enjoyed all of the aspects of this book. First, there's the mystery of why Lena left Alabama and why she promised God she wouldn't have sex, lie or return home. There's lovely, smart Burr and their relationship which has managed to withstand the no-sex clause. There's the bizarre Rose Mae showing up in Chicago and freaking Lena out. And then there's the journey back to Alabama, with Burr, to discover the truth about something horrible that happened a decade ago. It's just a great read, for all of those reasons, and especially for Lena's discovery that, in the end, despite their flaws and the scars left by grief, her family (particularly her fearsome Aunt Florence) loves her and she loves them. This is my second Jackson book and I wasn't disappointed - it's snappy, sad, Southern, smart, and somewhat sweet, all at the same time. I'm now really looking forward to Backseat Saints!