Review & Giveaway: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes


Review & Giveaway: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
Published by Dial Books on June 9, 2015
Pages: 400
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review, via Netgalley
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.


The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly was hands down (no pun intended, seriously, that would be awful!) one of my most anticipated 2015 releases, and I am happy to report that it did not disappoint! First, this book is messed up. If you are squeamish, this may not be the book for you, because there is detail of some very unpleasant things. The poor girl’s hands have been cut off, for goodness sake, and I dare say that isn’t even the worst of the Kevinian behavior! Cults tend to fascinate me in general, but the Kevinians have taken crazy cult activity to a whole new level. The thing is, there have been cults that engage in awful behavior in our history, and this cult story is (sadly) horrific, but not inconceivable, especially the way the author details the evolution of the cult.

I am impressed and in awe that the author was able to make Minnow so very believable, to make me feel like I was really in her head, despite the fact that I could not relate to a single thing she’d been through. Minnow came from one of the darkest places I have ever read about a character coming from. Her family abandoned her to the Kevinian beliefs, she has no idea if her only friend or her family is alive or dead, and upon escape she attacks some dude and is sent to juvenile detention, of all places. This was the only part of the story that gave me some pause, because I do wonder what would have actually happened- would our legal system be so inhumane as to put someone so clearly psychologically damaged in a prison setting? I’d like to think not, but I suppose I can’t say for sure.

Along the way, Minnow finds out so much about herself. She learns that some people can be trusted, but most importantly, she learns about herself. Who she is and who she can be away from the cult that took over her life. The secondary characters, though they are few, really add a lot to the story as their interactions with Minnow really have a huge impact on her life- both the flashback interactions from her cult days to the present interactions in juvie.

I won’t say more, because I think I’d be doing you a disservice. Go into this one completely open, find out truths as Minnow unravels them, or in some cases, has them unraveled to her. I was shocked, I was horrified, and at times, I even felt a bit of hope. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly was a book that was incredibly hard to put down, and had me captivated until the last word. 

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Follow the The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly Blog Tour and don’t miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.
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.

Talk to me about cults! Do they fascinate you? Do you think you could ever, for any reason, be persuaded into one? 

Posted June 6, 2015 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Giveaway, Review , / 22 Comments


22 responses to “Review & Giveaway: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

  1. Great review! I loved this book for all the same reasons. I really enjoyed how relatable the author made Minnow, even with such extreme circumstances.

  2. Great review Shannon! 🙂 I’ve always wanted to read this book, and I have been anticipating it since early this year. Minnow sounds like a great and very interesting character! You make me want to grab a copy right now because I’m suddenly very curious about the truths that Minnow will uncover. Glad you loved the book! And thanks so much for sharing 😀

  3. THIS IS WHY THIS BOOK MAKES ME MAD (in a good way) because WHY would they put a poor girl like that in juvie? She has no hands! Poor Minnow 🙁

    Muhahah I like being on the same tour as you hahaha.

  4. Wow, everyone has been talking about this novel – it does sound pretty amazing. I hear it’s a retelling as well, and that’s unique since this is about cults. I feel cults are underrated in books, hoping to read this sometime soon 🙂 Wonderful review Shannon !

  5. Omgggg, DON’T MAKE ME CHANGE MY MIND ABOUT THIS BOOK, SHANNON. I decided not to read it because I hate cults. But adjfskl you make it sound so good and and and I’m CURIOUS. Darnit. *glares at TBR* I thought finally I’d have a book not to worry about. 😉 I blame you for eeeeverything.
    *runs to goodreads*

    • Welllll… Minnow hates the cult too, if that helps? I mean, if you do NOT like cults, it IS basically at least half the focus of the book. Soo, maybe that helps? If not, I’M SORRY 🙁 Or you know, it’s payback muahahah 😉

  6. I really love books about cults. I love re-tellings too. How on earth did I miss this book? Your review makes me really want to read it. Thanks for the chance to win this book!

  7. Oh, this one had me as soon as you said it’s messed up, (which sounds really bad, I guess, but I do love messed up books- and I mean, hello, cult culture, so yup, my kind of book)
    With books like these, I guess connection is usually the main problem (well, with the few I’ve read, it has been for me) so glad you can connect to her despite that.
    I don’t know for sure either, but it does sound a little unbelievable, especially because, like you said, the psychological damage, and considering there is an insanity plea…
    Now, definitely interested in seeing how she gets to figure out herself away from the cult, especially the adjustment and everything. NEED TO GET THIS AS SOON AS I CAN.

    • Bwahah I see how it is 😉 No, I agree, a messed up book usually ends up being a good book for me! And yeah, I mean, it IS in like, this very rural kind of place (I think maybe Montana?) so maybe that is why they are kind of weird about the legal stuff? That was my only complaint about the book, really! I hope you enjoy it 😀

  8. I really enjoyed this one as well! It was shocking and fascinating at the same time, and through it all Minnow stayed strong. I really liked her characterisation because it was more about the journey that she had. Lovely review Shannon!

  9. This is one of those books I have heard an awful lot about, and I can’t wait to try for myself. It’s not on my TBR! When I saw the cover I wasn’t impressed but reviews are showing me that the main character is so realistic she could jump out of the page and that she develops so well. Being a character driven reader, that sounds like music to my ears!

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