The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes [Spoiler-free Review]


Title: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

Author(s): Stephanie Oakes

Publisher: Dial/Penguin

ISBN: 0803740700

Rating: 4 stars

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Since I was a little kid I’ve been drawn to cults. There’s something so exotic and mysterious about people believing so blindly in someone else. No matter how crazy what they’re told is, they’ll still follow their leader to the end of the world if necessary. It’s so magical and disturbing how these leaders are able to rob individuals from their free-will without them noticing. Dreams and aspirations lost to a real-life siren. That’s what this book is about.

This story made me think of so many things. It made me think of how vulnerable we are when we’re emotionally worn. It made me reflect on our own society; is western culture the biggest cult ever created? Are we being deceived into believing we’re free?

A hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in yourself

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.

Minnow is head-strong and that’s precisely what saved her. The character development in this book is outstanding and one of my favorite things about it. When we meet Minnow she’s some sort of “blank slate”. Yes, she’s been taught all kinds of crazy shit in the cult but she’s also starting to question them. Her mind can be molded into a thousand different things and Jude is going to play a big role in her “awakening”. Later on, Angel will also influence her views on the world big time.

Angel is a clear example of characters that make you fall in love with a book. She’s just the kind of person I would want as a friend; honest, smart, opinionated (a little too much sometimes) and a true daydreamer.

This book was so much more that a detective novel and that’s what I loved about it. One of the aspects I enjoyed the most was prison life. It reminded me of a teenage Orange Is The New Black and that sounds amazing to be honest!


The love story between Minnow and Jude wasn’t too great and I found myself a lot more invested in Jude’s personal story than their romance. Actually I think their relationship would have had a better dynamic within the book if it was a true friendship. Thinking of it, it was a friendship on steroids sold as a romance.

One of the strongest characteristics of this book would be how cinematic it is. The author achieved to write such powerful scenes full of meaning and beauty. There’s a scene in particular that stuck with me and it’s when Minnow is hanging from a tree in the middle of the cold night and sets herself free. Or when her hands are cut off. Or the forest scenes. Or almost the whole book tbh.


The Sacred Lies is definitely a one-sitting read and the quality of the story-telling will leave you speechless. It’s not every day that you get to read about topics like rape, religion, death, murder, delusion, mental illness, treason and revenge in a YA novel. I give all my respect to the author and I will be eagerly awaiting her next release.

Seriously, go pick this gem up if you’re brain-hungry.



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