The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly
Author: Stephanie Oakes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Mystery
Release Date: June 9, 2015
Publisher: Dial Books
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.
First Sentence: I’m a blood-soaked girl.
I wasn’t sure if I ever wanted to read The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly despite everyone raving about it. The fact that The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly features a cult originally grabbed my attention because I love learning more about cults, but when I read the summary, nothing calls to me. To be honest, the only reason why I did read The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly was because both of the main character’s hands was chopped off, which was a first for me and intrigued me because I wanted to know what happened. Horrid, I know, but hey, I like reading dark stories okay?
“But, all those people, they musta known you was in there. Bein’…bein’ hurt.”
“None of ’em did anything. They let it happen. How? How?” (305)
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly started off keeping me very engaged – I read the first hundred and thirty-eight pages in an hour. Stephanie Oakes’ writing was easy to get into and very smooth. I was eager to learn more about the Community (the name of the cult), how everything burned down, and find out who ultimately murdered the Prophet. It was quite fun trying to put all the pieces together.
But then I found myself growing more and more bored as I read on. I wasn’t as invested in Minnow’s story anymore – the only reason why I pushed myself into finishing The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly was because I still wanted to know who burned down the Community and killed the Prophet and to see if my prediction about everything was right. In the end, I think The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly was simply a hundred pages too long and that’s what dragged the book down. Lots of things in the book just wasn’t needed and could be cut out. After reading The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, I feel like nothing really happened besides the very basics. A lot of the filler scenes just wasn’t needed.
“Do you know how many murderers try to excuse their actions by saying they were victimized? It explains their actions, but it can’t excuse it,” he says.
He sees things so clearly. But he never lived in fear. He’s never had to dread the choices of big men with their large, dark-haired hands. (326)
I love how The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly bought up an important controversial, often talked about when bad things happens to the world topic: If someone does something so awful, so inhumane, to someone and the victim ended the life of person who made him or her suffer, does the victim who killed his/her tormentor deserve to be punished? It was interesting and eye-opening to read about characters who side with the person causing the harm and how they justify feeling that way.
Overall, I am a bit disappointed in The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly as I expected more out of it and got what feels like fluff in a book that’s supposed to be serious and extremely dark.