Friday, July 17, 2015

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

Title: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly
Author: Stephanie Oakes
Publisher: Dial
Release: June 9, 2015
Pages: 400
Review: 4.5 Stars


A hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in yourself

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.

Gorgeously written, breathlessly page-turning and sprinkled with moments of unexpected humor, this harrowing debut is perfect for readers of Emily Murdoch's If You Find Me  and Nova Ren Suma's The Walls Around Us , as well as for fans of Orange is the New Black.

You Can Find it At:
Barnes and Noble

First Impressions

From the moment I saw the cover, I was intrigued. The story looked interesting, and unlike other books I'd read. It definitely fulfilled that promise. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly was a unique tale that, using flashbacks, brought Minnow's pain, love, and sacrifice to life. My one question, why does the cover have hands if Minnow does not?


Minnow is the kind of person that I think I would like to know. She's kind, protective, but not afraid to get angry. In juvie, Minnow immediately befriends her roommate, Angel, who is not an easy person to like. Through their friendship, Minnow is able to acclimate to the world, and Angel is able to show her scarred interior. Both of these girls are so undeserving of the sentence they got served in life, but they both make the best of it. Minnow's doctor was an interesting side character, though most of his use was as a way to have Minnow flash back to her time in the cult.


The writing in this was truly beautiful. It's a combination of poetic and to the point. The past tends to take on a dreamier feeling, while the present is straightforward. It truly does feel as if the reader is unlocking a mystery, all within Minnow's mind. Minnow is fantastic at keeping secrets, not just from other people, but from the reader as well. This style, when done well, is a wonderful storytelling device.


The world building in this story is intense. Part of the way that the craziness of the cult is shown is by the relative normality of juvie. Using compare and contrast, the reader can see just how weird of a world Minnow was living in, while at the same time, believing that that sort of world could exist. The author makes it so that the reader is able to somehow believe that these people were able to fall under the spell of prophet, even when common sense says they shouldn't.

Author Bio:

My name's Stephanie. My debut novel, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, will be released from Dial/Penguin on June 9, 2015. This is, and will forever be, very exciting. I'm represented by Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary. I also teach and manage a combined elementary and middle school library in Spokane, Washington.

You Can Find Her At:

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