Thursday, January 21, 2016

Book Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes book cover and review
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is hard to put down. Young people who have experienced abuse are hard to read about, but Minnow's strength and determination are compelling.

In the opening scene, we find Minnow under a bridge, covered in blood after she has just beaten someone almost to death. We then experience her arrest and trial. She ends up in a juvenile detention center. Given Minnow's previous existence, prison is a very hard adjustment.

As this part of the story unfolds, Minnow takes us back to her past, where when she was five years old her father moved her family deep into the woods. He's been enamored with The Prophet (Kevin) who has convinced him to give up his worldly ways. So Minnow has lived a very sheltered life in the cult. Always in fear of torture and beatings, she has the scars to prove it.

We learn very early in the book that Minnow's hands have been cut off. We don't really learn how this happened until much later in the book. Minnow also reveals her relationship with a boy in the woods near the cult -- how she sneaked out to meet him for years. The reader is pretty sure early on that this boy was punished, and killed, by the cult after his discovery. We also learn early on that the buildings in the cult have all burned, and Kevin, The Prophet, is dead.

Many of these stories are told to Minnow's cell mate or her counselor, who is also an FBI agent. He want's Minnow to tell him who killed Kevin. In return, he will testify at her parole hearing to help her. It's interesting to see the trust build up between these two. The relationship between Minnow and her cell mate is also complex and interesting.

The changing relationships, both in Minnow's past and present, are part of what makes The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly fascinating.  Also the unbelievable story that unfolds of the nutcase Prophet and his followers.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is a very quick read that I flew threw. I think teens who enjoy cult stories must read this one. This is a great story that will get you thinking about blind faith and how people can get in these kinds of situations and are unable to break free. Can't wait to pass The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly around to my teens.

Published by Dial, 2015
Copy obtained from the library
396 pages

Rating: 5/5

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  1. I’m glad you liked it. I read this one last year and loved it. It made my Top 15 of 2015 list.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. Glad you liked this one! I had it on my book club picks for the students to choose from. This one was the second popular choice after "Out of the Darkness". We don't have this one in my library yet so I put in our next book order.

  3. great review. Got me all excited for this read. I need to move it on up on my list.

  4. I don't know why, but I find stories about cults absolutely fascinating. This one was no exception. It's haunting and compelling. Definitely difficult to put down. Glad you enjoyed it.

  5. Well, now I know. I checked the ebook out from the public library on my iPad and then didn't get around to reading it. I will try again this time I will actually read it. But first I have to clear my palette and read a few more adults books before I once again jump into YA lit. I got pretty sick of the books after reading over 50 of them last year for our Mock Printz Workshop (and then the Printz committee only selected two Honor books instead of four, gr.r.r.) Anyway. This book sounds good enough for me to break my current ban on YA lit. Happy week-end.


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