ARC Review: The Secret Lies of Minnow Bly

June 22, 2015 Review 22 ★★★★½

ARC Review: The Secret Lies of Minnow Bly
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Source: Publisher
Pages: 352
Release Date: June 22nd, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Family, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Religious, Young Adult
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.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

bec (2)

I think I might have a little bit of a book hangover right now. I finished THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY last night and it was as fantastic as I was hoping. The only way I could have loved it more was if I got the chance to read it in one sitting instead of spread over three weeks like uni forced me to.

My piece of advice for anyone wanting to pick up MINNOW BLY: read it on a Friday night or something when you don’t have to leave the house for a day or two. It grips you quickly and you won’t want to stop until you have all the answers. The combination of the good writing and mystery of what the hell happened to Minnow?!?!?! is what makes MINNOW BLY such an addictive read, and it’s only aided by interesting characters and themes.

The story unfolds through Minnows time in juvie and a series of flashbacks that slowly reveal the events that lead to the chilling opening scene. You don’t get answers until the very end, and it was not what I was expecting at all, but the pacing is good enough and the writing flows so well that you hardly notice. Tidbits are dropped at the perfect places to turn what you thought you knew on its head. There were many times I had to stop and close the book for a second because there’d be a little twist that completely changed where I thought the mystery was going.

Minnow herself is one of the things you can’t help but second guess. She’s a bit of an unreliable narrator. I was never entirely sure if I could trust what she said or if she was lying. I thought I had her figured out but then she’d say something that made me question if she was as innocent as she said she was. Then there’s the lack of hands complication which made me wonder if she really could have done what I thought she did because theoretically it wasn’t possible.

Minnow wasn’t the only morally grey character. There were many people who I questioned. People who did horrible things because they thought it was the right, because they thought it was justice, etc. It was a very interesting theme throughout and definitely makes you think.

I have to say the Kevinian cult was one of the most fascinating aspects. I love learning about different religions and their belief systems. Getting in the heads of the people, slowly learning about the theory behind their beliefs practices. The Kevinians were brutal, very old school religion (think early Christian, but quite possibly even more violent) and strict in their ways. Some of the things they did as ‘punishment’ were horrifying. It was all Minnow knew for most of her life, and while we learned about the Kevinians she was learning about all the different possible belief systems and explanations and science, things we assume everyone knows nowadays.

THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY is a book I think everyone should read at least once. Not only is it a great mystery, but it contains some very interesting themes and discussions about religion, justice, and what is right and wrong. It would be the perfect book to invoke some discussion among friends. It’s definitely one of the most thought provoking books I’ve read so far this year.

Rating Report
Overall: 4.6

22 Responses to “ARC Review: The Secret Lies of Minnow Bly”

  1. Kirsty-Marie

    I love stories with cults, because it is fascinating, and cults mainly surround religion so definitely interesting to read about, and sounds like it was done really well here. But okay, I was going to start it today, but well, I’ll have to keep it until Friday now then, haha. Because sounds like I won’t want to put it down either. I am kind of scared of the punishment scenes.
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: Because You’ll Never Meet Me (Let’s ignore the ending, okay?)

    • Bec

      I’d never read one until now. They’re so fascinating.

      The punishment scenes aren’t too graphic but the things the cult leader comes up with O_O

  2. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    I know how much buzz that this book has been getting but yours is the first review I’ve read for it. Honestly, I had not clue what it was about other than knowing it was a contemporary. The mystery aspect totally appeals to me (as it always does), but the religious aspect and the cult theme has really got my interest now. I will be adding this to my tbr shelf as soon as I finish typing this comment! I love a story that keeps you guessing like you described that this one did and like you, I adore exploring different religions and belief systems. Thanks for the fantastic review Bec^^ x
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Fandom Mashup #7

    • Bec

      When it first started buzzing around all I needed to hear about it was about a cult. And a girl with no hands. I hope you get time to read and love it!

      Thanks :)

    • Bec

      You wanted to buy it after reading my review is the BIGGEST compliment! Hope you get it soon :D

  3. Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity

    I think I am, like, the only person who didn’t love this book. Eep. I just … didn’t connect to it. And there were a lot of things that annoyed me, and didn’t make sense, and I just couldn’t fall in love.

    I agree that it was thought provoking, though. And how it shed light on how completely gullible and devoid of thought people can be. And also how cruel.

    I’m glad you liked this one, Bec! Even though you didn’t get to read it as quickly as you would have liked.
    Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity recently posted…Review: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

    • Bec

      I haven’t heard many bad reviews yet but I’m sure you won’t be alone! It sucks you couldn’t connect :( The thought provoking element was my favourite part!

    • Bec

      Thanks! It is an amazing book and deserves all the amazing reviews. I hope you get your hands on it one day.

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