REVIEW: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

Book Review Banner

About the Book

sacred lies of minnow blyTitle: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

Author: Stephanie Oakes

Series: none

Genre: YA Contemporary

Pages: 400

Dates Read: September 21 – 25, 2021

Edition Read: Kindle eBook

Blurb: 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.


I’ve had this book on my Kindle for a really long time – I think I got it from Book Bub a few years ago and never got around to reading it (story of my life, really). As I was scrolling through my Kindle library looking for a standalone novel to read (so as not to get sucked into another series), I came across this one. I immediately remembered why I got it from Book Bub in the first place. It deals with two things that I am secretly interested in: cults and prison stories.

The story is told in a series of flash backs as Minnow is recounting what has happened to her ever since her family became involved with a religious cult and started living in a compound off the grid. It is kind of a harrowing story. For example (and this isn’t a spoiler, because you learn about it on the first page), Minnow has had her hands cut off. You find out why later on in the story, but it is pretty much understood that it was because she had done something against the rules of the cult that that was the punishment meted out.

The story alternates between flash backs of Minnow’s life with her family in the cult and her current life in prison, including her interactions with her fellow inmates. It is a pretty stark contrast, but that also makes the book flow very nicely as it bounces back between the two narratives. Minnow is obviously a sympathetic character because of everything she has gone through, but she isn’t an easy person to get to know either. You can’t help but root for her, but you also have no idea how she will ever recover from this and be able to lead a normal life.

There is a lot about the story that is ambiguous, but that wasn’t a turnoff for me. Minnow is not the most reliable narrator at times due to her experiences and trauma so there are a lot of things that we still don’t fully understand by the end of the book. To me, that made the story even more realistic, which I definitely approved of. It also makes the book a bit scarier, since this could easily be based on a true story.

GoodReads rating: 5 stars. Excellent writing and a compelling story.

Categories: Books I've Read

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

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

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: