The Secret Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes [NON-SPOILER]

Title: The Secret Lies of Minnow Bly
Author: Stephanie Oakes
Pages: 400 pages
Published: June 9th, 2015
Genre: Dark, YA
Source: Barnes & Noble Hard Copy
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 has 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. 

Buy it now! 
A creepy cult-related book rocks right up my alley so it wasn't to anyone's surprise that I picked this one up. I was lucky enough to buddy read this with my great friends Sofia and Isabelle from the book blogging and Youtube community. This story didn't surprise me up until the middle where I could clearly feel the complexity and plot of the story getting stronger and more prominent. But anyways, let's get into my thoughts and feels.


The beginning of the story is slow and it takes some time to realize that the book switches between past and present in the form of flashbacks. Minnow speaks from the present when she doesn't have any hands and she's in juvie for assaulting someone but, at the same time, there are flashbacks into the past, the time before she got her hands cut off and what led her into juvie. The whole aspect of information before explanation didn't bode well with me. I guess it's just common sense that I need to know the events that lea up to something extremely dramatic, but I guess that's just me because I know some people who worship this book for its plot and non-linear timing. 

Like I've mentioned before, this book starts with a bang where Minnow is sitting on top of someone's body all covered in blood. I felt like she took the rest of the book to explain how she got in that situation and it just took too damn long for me to find an answer in the midst. Overall, however, the author gives you a little mystery you've got to solve and the answer is revealed at the end of the book: Who killed the Prophet? The Prophet is dead and some people are looking more suspicious than others but only Minnow knows who it is. She doesn't tell you till the end of course and even though the answer seems so obvious, it's not at all what you're thinking. So Stephanie Oakes, I give you credit for that fantastic ending! 


The book is told from the eyes of seventeen-year-old Minnow Bly who is put into a juvenile detention center. She's got no hands, no family, and no religion as of present time in the book. The fact that she's in this juvenile detention center and she's the only narrator of this book seems kind of sketchy and makes me believe she is an unreliable narrator. I don't quite know if I can trust her or not but throughout the book I made sure to keep in mind that she was never 100% trust-worthy. 

Minnow is a cryptic character, even from the beginning. She doesn't fully stretch out her sentences to tell you everything that went down. She is mysterious, but I loved how open she was to new possibilities and trying to escape her past. Minnow wasn't a perfect character. She did some bad things that got her where she is today but I think the whole aspect of her trying to find herself again was so invigorating. 


More like relationships...

Just because you're in juvie doesn't mean you can't make friends with someone who has committed murder! Minnow befriends her cellmate, Angel, who was put in there for actual murder. I felt like even though Angel has that reputation of the biggest and baddest of the entire jail, she's really protective and caring over Minnow. You really couldn't ask for a better friend in jail, and that's probably the best it gets! 

Minnow meets a boy named Jude who is basically an intruder to her society because her cult doesn't accept nonbelievers. It felt like Jude only liked Minnow because she was the only other girl around to like! I mean how many other girls do you see strolling around the woods singing country music?? Not much, exactly. Their relationship was overrated.

Minnow also befriends this cop, Dr. Wilson, who strikes a deal with her. He says he will help Minnow get out by recommending her for parole if she just tells him who killed the Prophet. And he wants to know since he's on the case for his murder. They were like a dog and a cat kind of chasing each other's tails and messing around, speaking in intricate sentences trying to hide the true meaning of their words, when really they could have both said what they needed to say right then and there. Dr. Wilson does something genuine and kind in the end for Minnow, which I won't spoil because this is a non-spoilery review! Great characters. I loved them!

I'm not ready to give this book its golden five stars because I did find problems with it. It was a so-so book that I didn't find revolutionizing and like my last breath of air. But is it a book that I'd recommend to anyone for enjoyment and mind-blowing twists? Yes, it's a powerful and compelling book that had a satisfying ending for a standalone dark read (or at least I think it's stand alone). 

Have you read this book yet? What did you think of it? 

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  1. I haven't read this yet, but now that I actually PAID attention to the synopsis, this sounds like it's right up my alley!

    I think I have a secret fondness for dark books. :p

    1. I also like dark books. They are more action packed than regular contemporaries. You're not alone Sophia!

      I'm here withcha :D


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