The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly
by Stephanie Oakes
published June 9th 2015 by Dial Books
young adult | contemporary
find the book on
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.
There has been so much hype and hoopla around The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, and it’s quite easy to see why. This is a haunting and memorable story that tackles some horrible, grim topics. However, I just wasn’t able to connect to the story as much as I wished I could have.
The cult has taken everything 17-year-old Minnow Bly holds dear: her hands, her family, the one boy she used to love. Now, the leader of the cult is dead and, for the first time in her life, Minnow is forced into the real world, a world she never imagined existed.
Minnow is the type of character you can’t help but love. She’s been through so many painful and horrifying events in her life, yet she still tries her hardest to hold an optimistic outlook on everything.
However, I feel that after all the suffering she has gone through, after living in a cult for her entire life, her psychological state must have been affected somehow. Yet, she doesn’t seem harmed or numbed by anything that’s happened to her. I wish that there was more exploration on how being in a cult affected her psychologically, as her reactions and her endless optimism, although inspiring, seemed a little unrealistic at times.
I think the lack of psychological impact all of these situations had on Minnow almost made it a bit harder to connect to the story emotionally. Everything that’s happened to Minnow is downright appalling, but she remains placid about everything that’s happened to her, which makes me as a reader feel somewhat placid about all these horrifying monstrosities too.
Nonetheless, this is an important book that will open your eyes to what it’s like for the thousands of people who live in cults in our world. Minnow’s story may be fictional, but theirs is a horrifying reality.
Zoe is a critical reviewer. When she’s not reviewing, you can find her performing in plays / musicals, doing gymnastics, or designing websites.