Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly


With a harrowing poetic voice, this contemporary page-turner is perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, Julie Berry’s All The Truth That’s in Me, and the works of Ellen Hopkins.

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.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is a hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in oneself.

Finally got around to reading this today and oh my God why did I not read it earlier?!?!?!

The first thing I wrote on my notepad was: “Beautiful poetic way of writing. Quote first 4 paragraphs.” And so here they are:

I am a blood-soaked girl.

Before me, a body. Pulped. My boots drenched with his blood. I search out his eyes, but they’re gone, hidden away behind pale lids.

My breath comes hard and white in the freezing air. Inside each breath is the understanding that this is how it feels, controlling someone, bending their body to your will.

I wonder this is how the Prophet felt the moment he ordered my hands ripped from me.

Wow. That first line. “I am a blood-soaked girl”. No time spared for backstories, no time spared for “I live in *** and I am *** and I am *** years old and I love my dear pet dog whose name is ***. Nup.


Straight into the action. It totally pays off, sucks you straight into the book.

But now you’re thinking: “Wait but what about the backstory? She just can’t skip that, right?” Well, no she can’t. And so, the backstory is slowly revealed through frequent flashbacks and stories being told to other people by Minnow. Actually, that’s the plot of the story. It’s almost like there are two plot lines, the past and the present. They both develop, but the past is the one most captivating.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly follows the story of a religious cult, where “Kevinians” live, Minnow being one. They are ruled over by their supreme leader: “Prophet”. Prophet pulls all the strings, with so called “interpreted prophecies” from God that tell him everything from how many wives he should have to what kind of punishment he should dish out.

While I was reading this, I made connections to two things: Hitler and Animal Farm. Prophet is based off Hitler. It’s simple. He unites the people by literally being racist, and he tells them that black people are the worst. Seriously? What a way to disgust me, Stephanie. Prophet uses powers of persuasion and manipulation to control the masses (ahemAnimalFarmahem). It was so great when he was finally murdered. Good riddance.


Some of the scenes are heartbreakingly graphic. I think I went in without too much of an expectation, but by page 100 or so, after several heartbreakingly graphic scenes, when the book went:

“All right,” he says, leaning back. “Tell me about losing your hands.”

“That?” I shrug. “I barely remember it.”

He lifts an eyebrow

“Fine,” I say. “But I want to tell it my way”

“Of course.”

“No interrupting,” I warn.

“I’ll do my best.”

I was just like:


And then, obviously it just had to go into massively graphic detail about her father sawing her hands off and I was like:


Holding my hands protectively ^^^

The characters were amazing. They were as 3d as you could have them. Even if the character only lasted for 2 chapters, they were still given unique physical traits and personality attributes. It was amazing, and the reader was completely sucked into the story.

The story was beautiful, heartbreaking and surprisingly philosophical, with deep human truths about religion and power (10 stars!!!). Before I finished, a quote that basically sums up the whole book in a sentence:

That’s all religion is. Strategy.

Oh, and this quote for all us book nerds 😝

When I remember her, I picture that expression, like behind her eyes she had entire rooms that she didn’t let anyone see. And I realize now it was the book in her hands that’d made them.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★ 10/10

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is out now. Buy at your local bookstore.

The Info:

  • Title: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly
  • Author: Stephanie Oakes
  • Paperback: 394 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (June 9th, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1460750780
  • URL: Goodreads, Amazon

2 thoughts on “Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

What do you think? Let me know!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s