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The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly 3

by Stephanie Oakes
Publication Date: 22/06/2015
5/5 Rating 3 Reviews

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RRP  $21.73

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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.

Fantasy & magical realism (Children's / Teenage)
Publication Date:
HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd
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Stephanie Oakes

Stephanie Oakes is the author of The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, which was a Morris Award finalist and a Golden Kite Honor book, and The Arsonist, which won the Washington State Book Award and was an ALA/YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults pick.

An elementary school librarian, Stephanie lives in Spokane, Washington with her wife and family.

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Based on 3 reviews

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3 Reviews

‘Growing up, I believed in miracles. I guess I don’t anymore.'

This debut is captivating, absorbing and brilliant. I was quickly pulled into Minnow’s story as she struggles with a new world, her identity and her secrets.

Despite how gruesome and awful some experiences told are Oakes injects a dry humor into the narrative and characterisation which will at times have you laughing out loud, breaking up the sadness and intensity.

A highly recommend read for ages 14+.

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Okay, where to begin with this book? I knew going into it that it was going to involve a cult, and brutality at least involving the removal of a girl's hands. I was a bit nervous to start! What I wasn't prepared for was Minnow's strength of character - I loved her!

Minnow's story is gradually revealed in the form of stories that she tells to her counselor Dr Wilson and to her cellmate, Angel. She is strong, willful, even manipulative of the people around her, never letting herself become weak, even with her missing hands. She adjusts back into life outside the Community surprisingly quickly. The gradual revelation of the events leading to Minnow's escape from the Community means that the tension is kept amazingly high throughout the whole book. I had a lot of trouble putting it down!

If you're worried, like I was, about possibly violence or sexual abuse in this book, rest assured. Although there is violence, it doesn't overwhelm the story and thankfully is not directed at anyone younger than seventeen. While there are mentions of girls marrying at sixteen in the community, there is no sexual aggression. There is a gentle love story, but it isn't the focus of Minnow's tale at all.

I feel that a book like this should be on high school curricula - I took away a very strong message to respect others beliefs, even if you don't share them, and that you should always question what you are told to believe by others.

An amazing story written in a very engaging way, worth the hype that it has received so far. I'll be looking for what Stephanie Oakes produces next.

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I absolutely loved this book…and hated it – hated it because it kept me up at night and I just could NOT put it down (haha). It was a story you could so easily get caught up in. A story you needed to know how it ended. It’s a book that starts obsessive compulsive behaviour and demands that nothing outside the story exists. It was fantastic. Kudos to the author for writing such a compelling piece!!!

The story follows a young girl by the name of Minnow, through her memories of a life inside a cult and secrets that she keeps very close to her heart and some that she has not even admitted to herself – all the while being locked in Juvenile Detention for a crime she committed while still under the “influence” of her past.

She meets another young girl who (at first) seems to have lost all ability to care or have hope of any kind and forms a lasting and close friendship. And through this friendship you also get to know this other girl – Angel her name is – her back story and her future, and you also get to see that your first impression of her is completely wrong. Minnow and Angel help one another, in a way. Minnow helps Angel to accept companionship and to open up to someone. And Angel helps Minnow become the person she was always destined to be by filling her mind with choices and information she never had access to before. It is a friendship you hope will follow through to the end and long after the book has finished because the two of them are very inspiring and create hope where there is none left.

The counsellor that is “selected” for Minnow is a little bit odd at first. He’s straight to the point and very blunt. He tells Minnow how it is and at times you wonder if he’s trying to get a confession out of her about killing the Prophet and it also makes you wonder if she did, despite the fact that she has no hands left. It was one of the big mysteries of this book and you don’t find out what happened – or can even imagine what really happened. You really do have to read to the end of the book.

But aside from the relationships Minnow forms with Dr. Wilson, Angel and Jude, this story is about how dangerous blind faith can be. When people don’t know how to think for themselves anymore and things are not questioned it can lead down a path you might not like. In certain views any type of religion can be dangerous – which is what this book questions. The belief in a person who holds a position of power and doing anything that that person asks of you, no questions asked. It’s blind faith. And it is dangerous. And Minnow discovers just how dangerous it is when she starts to rebel against the religion her parents decided for her.

So to sum it all up…this book is an extremely compelling read. It grips you from the beginning and takes you along for the journey. And it is a journey that you’ll remember long after the last page is finished. Such a fantastic piece of writing from the author, Stephanie Oakes, and look forward to many more books written by her.

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