Book Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
Release Date ~ June 9, 2015
Dial ~ Penguin
ISBN13:  9780803740709
ARC received from Penguin Canada for review

Goodreads Synopsis:
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 Bly 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 is one of the most intriguing books I've read in 2015. It's eerily similar to real life stories that we've heard, and yet explores the story of a girl who has left the cult she's grown up in from her own perspective.

  1. Minnow is a unique character:

    For a couple of reasons, Minnow is unlike many of the characters I've read about. First, she has spent her life in a cult. She's had a drastically different upbringing from most of us, and that shows. Additionally, at the beginning of the book we soon learn that Minnow has had both of her hands cut off. So the fact that Minnow's life is so different from my own, makes it even more of a eye-opening experience to see the events of this book unfold from her perspective.
  2. A thoughtful narrative:

    Minnow is an intelligent girl, who thoughtfully questions much of her world and what she is told. And I appreciate seeing this type of character who is critical of what she knows and believes, and one who searches for truth. There are other characters in the story who act in the same manner; Angel is a perfect example, as she loves to learn and read about science. 
Sacred Lies is really a story of how Minnow comes to terms with her past and what has happened to her and those she loves; for that reason, there's a large emphasis on her inner turmoil as she struggles with herself. This necessarily results in a book that is slower paced, and very focused on its main character. 

There were a number of times when this book felt just too slow for me. It is shocking and surprising, yes - and some of the more action-oriented scenes are uncomfortably gruesome, but without sensationalizing the events. The gore truly highlights the horrific actions. But these were few and far between, and the remainder of the book was set at a pace that detracted from the story for me.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is going to be a harder book for readers to love because of its difficult content, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be read. It tackles hard issues and exposes them for what they are, never shying away from the ugly truth. 

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