The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly
Release Date: June 9th 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Retelling, Contemporary, Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Thriller
With a harrowing poetic voice, this contemporary page-turner is perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, Julie Berry’s All The Truth That’s in Me, and the works of Ellen Hopkins.
The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.
And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.
Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something—but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.
The Sacred Lies of Minnow By is a hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in oneself.
This book blew me away. I mean, I guess I didn’t exactly know what I was getting myself into. The strangely horrifying opening scene very quickly tells you this is a different kind of story. All I could think about was this poor girl with no hands, something so very prominent in the promotional items, and what that meant for our dear protagonist.
This book was like the complete opposite of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. UKS is a show I binge watched because it was light and fun and hilarious in spite of the heinous things that happened to her. Even though this was realistic, oh so realistic at times, it was just as compelling and darkly engaging.
There is something so mesmerizing about cults — or the idea of cults. How do they come to be, how do people get swept up in the ideas and beliefs that override years and years of society’s engrained culture. What makes someone willing to go so far to do the things they will do for the sake of their beliefs. We see this in a lot of different aspects of life (think The Walls Around Us), but it was really fascinating to see it in such a compact manner.
If you enjoy this type of book, this one will blow your mind. It’s dark and there are some pretty gruesome things going on, but it is also powerful in subtle way. The book is told in two timelines — flashbacks of the days spent in the cult and the present timeline, where she is in juvinielle detention for lashing out at a man under a bridge. This screams Orange is the New Black and it did while reading it. I love this type of storytelling and it is so effective at showing the whole picture of a person.
The thing that I loved most about this book was the author’s dedication to showing it like it is. She wasn’t afraid to put it all on the table and show it like it is. The violence, the darkness, it isn’t coated in a fresh paint of YA approved reading. This stuff is the real deal. So while it is for a mature reader, it is one he or she is going to cherish for years to come.
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Stephanie Oakes is a teacher and YA author from Washington State. Her debut novel, THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY (Dial/Penguin, June 9, 2015), about a girl who escapes from a religious commune only to find herself at the center of a murder investigation, is based on the Grimm fairy tale, “The Handless Maiden.”
THE ARSONIST, her second YA mystery through Dial/Penguin, is scheduled for publication in fall 2016.