Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

Release Date: June 22nd 2015
Published By: Harper Collins Aus/Dial
Pages: 352
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Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, and her ability to trust.

And when Minnow rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now the Kevinian Prophet has been murdered and the camp set aflame and it’s clear Minnow knows something. But she’s not talking. As she adjusts to a life behind bars in juvenile detention, Minnow struggles to make sense of all she has been taught to believe, particularly as she dwells on 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 is willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

Powerful and compelling. this remarkable and brave debut novel reveals the terrible dangers of blind faith. And the importance of having faith in yourself.


Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is an eerie, horrifying and dark story… and I loved it!

This book had me from the opening sentence “I am a blood-soaked girl”, and not only did this opening line grab me with its unnerving and intriguing delivery, but it sets the tone for the whole book.

I really wanted to read this book as I was fascinated at the thought of a YA book that touches of the subject of cults, and the effects and tortures that these can hold. You know those rare but unbelievable cult stories you hear about - that is the type of cult that is within this story. The cult aspect of the storyline is truly horrifying… it is exceptionally written with a combination of honest and realness, and for that, I think it makes it all the more powerful. The portrayal of the characters and their circumstances in this book is written in a very honest and painful way.

There are aspects to this story that are disturbing, haunting and horrific, and the writing within this story reflects this, and much more. The writing is poetic and creates an equally beautiful and scary imagery,

The story starts in present tense where Minnow finds herself in juvenile detention for a horrific assault. Although recently escaped, Minnow is severely emotional damaged from her life within “The Community”, she has had her hands cut off and she is hiding many secrets. Secrets about her past, her hands and what happened to the Prophet. Minnow holds on to the truth as if it is the only thing in the world she has left - and it is!. She doesn’t want to tell anyone what happened to her in the past, and is scared that the secrets she holds so close will be exposed in ways that she cannot bear to imagine.

But as Minnow settles into life at the detention centre, her story starts to unfold. Through flashbacks, we get to see the hardships and tortures that Minnow experienced at The Community and at the hands of her family and The Prophet.

Minnow herself was a very intriguing character. Despite going through emotional and physical horrors beyond belief, she never actually plays the victim and her strength is clearly shown by silent defiance and her rejection of being treated handicapped. And I think it is due to her silence, and the fact that she is extremely guarded, that makes her somewhat suspicious. Minnow is also rather detached from her feelings and her past, and while this did stop me from connecting to her as a character, I felt that it rang true for someone who is so damaged. But throughout the story she really grows, and you can see her development had started to occur well before the current tense.

Unsettling, fascinating, eye-opening, hopeful, disturbing and beautiful: The Scared Lies of Minnow Bly is truly a statement of the dangers and horrors of fanatical blind faith, as well as the fact that hope cannot easily be extinguished from those who hold a flame within themselves.



“Growing up, I believed in miracles. I guess I don’t anymore”

“Because I believe nobody benefits when the truth is buried”

“That act of kindness is still more unfathomable to me than any cruelty”

“That’s how you avoid becoming a moth,” he says. “Stop asking others what to believe. Figure it out for yourself.”

“I wonder if this is how the Prophet felt… the moment he ordered my hands ripped from me”

“Not anymore”


What do you think?

  • I can’t wait to read this one! Although I feel like it will be a difficult read. A cult (sect?), hands cut off of a teenage girl… But it just sounds like a must read book for me.
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