The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

Title: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly
Author: Stephanie Oakes
Genre: Realistic Contemporary
Publication Date: June 9th 2015
Publisher: Dial Books
Pages: 400
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars




TRIGGER WARNING: Religious themes/abuse, child abuse, and graphic violence.





“Anger is a kind of murder you commit in your heart.” If this is true, I’m a daily murderer. My heart is more full of blood than I ever imagined.”

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. – Excerpt from Goodreads

I don’t think I’ve ever read a fiction novel about a cult. This book was shocking, disturbing, heartbreaking and still at the end of the day, very inspired.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is not for the faint of heart. I read this book in a couple of days but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. It’s one of those books that just haunts you and I can’t imagine I’ll forget what I’ve read here in the near future. I loved the character of Minnow, as well as her roommate that she shared a cell with, Angel. I actually would’ve loved to have read a separate, stand-alone on Angel so I could know more of her story and what happens to her after the book ended. The fact that some of these things do happen in religious cults is terrifying. The lengths these people were willing to go for their beliefs were completely insane. To chop of a young girls hands for disobeying/rebelling, well there are no words for it. I will probably never understand how people can be so brainwashed and be willing to blindly follow whatever a man who has deemed himself a Prophet has to say. I’m not sure I’d ever want to completely understand. Half the time I didn’t know if I was more fascinated or horrified. Probably a little of both.

I loved the relationship between Minnow and Jude, how innocent it was. How it developed and how they both challenged each other. I also loved how much Minnow evolved over the course of the book. I won’t go too far into their plot line because I don’t want to ruin anyone’s experience of reading this.

The most heart wrenching part of the book for me was the fate of Minnow’s sister. I felt broken after that. It still makes me sick to think about it. I didn’t see it coming and I wasn’t prepared at all. Out of all the horrors of this book, this is the scene that haunts me the most to this day. I won’t go any further into it – you will see once you get there.

Overall, this is a wonderful realistic work of fiction. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in the subject of cults and the devastation they can cause in so many lives. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly really packs a punch. It was an easy four stars for me, but not an easy read. I will certainly be checking out Stephaine Oakes future works.


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