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The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  10,645 ratings  ·  1,980 reviews
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.

Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published June 9th 2015 by Dial/Penguin
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Nicole There are implications of sexual abuse, but there are some graphic scenes of violence. The book begins with the fact that Minnow had her hands cut off…moreThere are implications of sexual abuse, but there are some graphic scenes of violence. The book begins with the fact that Minnow had her hands cut off by order of her cult leader, and there are several vivid descriptions of horrifying punishments.(less)
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Emily May
Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Growing up, I believed in miracles. I guess I don’t anymore.

This book seems to have appeared out of nowhere. I haven't heard much hype about it, haven't seen many advance reviews in my feed and yet, from the very first chapter, I was hooked into this dark, horrifying and atmospheric novel. It gripped me from the start and I couldn't stop reading.

From the very opening line of "I am a blood-soaked girl" , I had a feeling that this was going to be one of those books that sucks me in complete
Wendy Darling
I had a feeling five pages into this book that it was going to make my Top 10 list for the year. I was right, because it's also my first 5 star book of 2015! Freaking looooved this, it's unlike anything I've ever read before.

You will enjoy this if you liked elements of ALL THE TRUTH THAT'S IN ME, THE HALLOWED ONES, and ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE. You'll also love it if you appreciate the bizarrely perfect combination of hard prison violence and deadpan humor of the show ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK.

To wr
Aj the Ravenous Reader
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Aj the Ravenous Reader by: Neil (or bleed)

This book’s first line: “I am a blood soaked girl.”

Judging from this short opening line, I knew I was going to be in for a gripping, dark and guaranteed provoking read and I wasn’t wrong. From the very first line up to the last page of the story, I just kept reading and reading until I felt like my eyes were going to pop out of their sockets. Thankfully, the book was over before that happened. Phew!

Minnow Bly is a 17 year old girl, accused of almost killing a boy by remorselessly beating him
Elle (ellexamines)
“I guess people can't be content without answers, even if they're wrong. We'd rather have a lie than a question that we can never know the answer to.”

This book is deeply psychologically terrifying. There aren't any jump scares; this book plays on your deepest fears, the fears hiding below "getting your hands brutally chopped off". There are worse things; being trapped, being abused, seeing your parents turn against you as you are the only one who can seem to see reason.

The Sacred Lies of Mi
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“Everyone always assumes it’s with hands that people disobey. The Prophet thought so, too. If only he know, if only everyone knew, my hands were never the source of my disobedience.”

This book proves once again that . . . .

Houston commercial photography

Many thanks to Paige for the recommendation. To be completely honest, I had written this one off as a “no thank you” due to the blurb. Even though it was recommended for fans of Speak, the name Ellen Hopkins
L A i N E Y ~back in a bit~
“And I almost understand now how you can be so trapped you’ll throw the whole world away just to get free”

What a powerful and heartbreakingly sad sad story...

“But why was it on me to survive? Why couldn’t my parents have stopped this?”

Beautiful writing, heartwarming friendships, and horrifying lives of innocent children ruined by the grownups’ vileness.

“I’m just sick of the victim being judged for fighting back”

“Between the Prophet and the law, I’ll have nothing left in the end.”


This is one of those times when I need a shot of something. Someone call a doctor. Or a veterinarian. Any of the two would do.
This book is proof that


Before I go any further, I just want to take a moment to thank the book gods, so far all my reads this year have ranged from good to splendid. I'm especially happy about it.
And all you enemies of progress murmur and stage whisper: Well it's only the beginning of the year. Wha
Sarah DiMento
I honestly wasn't sure what to expect from this book. The premise was really intriguing... Minnow Bly escapes from the religious cult community she grew up in and is arrested for assault. The Prophet of her cult is dead and the community burned to the ground. Oh, and Minnow's hands have been cut off. That's right, the main character has NO HANDS! What?! The story is pieced together by alternating between past and present. Minnow adjusts to life outside of the cult and in juvenile hall (and witho ...more
Paula M
Oct 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Oh my god this book is everything I don't like but also everything that I need. This is my 2nd 5 star read this year! YAYYY


Once in a while, you'll read a book and it will completely blow your mind and you'll be helpless and just recommend it to EVERYONE. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly just took my breath away. Literally. This book is everything I've been looking for this year. I don't give my 5 stars that easy, in fact, I only gave one book a five star this year so far (not counting this book) B
May 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites-recent
"'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.'"

The Kevinian cult has taken everything away from 17 year old Minnow Bly. The Prophet tries to systematically crush Minnow's spirit, and Minnow pays a huge price when she tries to defy him and rebel against this disturbing way of life. As she now faces punishment
Buddy read with my lovely friend Vane.

I expected to like this book, I really did. But I didn't expect to be blown away by it the way I was. I don't understand why more people aren't talking about it.

Minnow was such a strong, feisty character who made mistakes and sometimes said the wrong thing but she was so relatable! And the female friendship was just fantastic. Angel was one of my favourite characters.

I also really loved the romance element of this novel. I loved it because it was actually r
Neil (or bleed)
“I think you should be angry if you're angry. But it's also true that hate has a way of hurting you more than the person you're hating.”

I'm actually still thinking if this book deserves my 5 stars or not since I wasn't that shocked or too stunned with the revelations of this book. I mean I still did the "Whoa!" reaction but I didn't feel I've been stupefied right after.

Then again, the timing of the important revelations in this book are perfect, the narrative and the whole story are smooth
Paige  Bookdragon
"Why do you want to know the truth so badly?"

"Because I believe nobody benefits when the truth is buried."


Honestly, I don't know what to say to convince you all to read this book.Did I find this book as life-changing as Life of Pi? Nope. Did it made me cry a river as I did with Tiger Lily? No.But it still hurt my heart.

I think that's the best phrase to describe this book." It'll hurt your heart."

I don't know if you'll like it as much as I do or if you'll hate it due to your own personal reas
Ellen Gail
Growing up, I believed in miracles. I guess I don’t anymore.

Only 10 days into 2018 and I already have two new additions to my favorites shelf! Can this lucky streak please continue?

So basically this is amazing and perfect and you need to read it.


This is intense, brutal, and holy fucking macaroni it was good! I know YA novels these days are good / better than they were in my day, but this was almost scary in its intensity. Don't let the YA label scare you off! I did
Jul 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Please read this book.

I’m beginning to see a pattern regarding the books I like: the more fucked up the book is, the greater chance I’m going to like it. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly does not disappoint in this area at all. I went through a wide range of emotions while reading it, going from dread and horror, to hope and back again. It’s one wild ride of a book, that will leave you feeling conflicted and thoughtful.

It tells the story of Minnow Bly, a seventeen year-old girl who, for the past t
Faye, la Patata
Certainly worth the hype.

This was more thought-provoking than disturbing, though, that's for sure. I thought it would be a mindfuck kinda book, but it wasn't exactly that - no real twists or anything that would make you go WTF!!!11!1!!1 BUT it was still really good. Maybe review to come? I don't know, but I definitely implore you to read this.
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Erin by: Colleen Fauchelle
Audiobook narrated by Morgan Hallett 8 hours 50 mins 27 secs

Whew! Minnow Bly is perhaps one of the most memorable voices that I have come across in fiction recently. Rescued from her cult community and courted by the FBI, Minnow switches back and forth between her time in jail and her time in the Kevinian cult. But what caused the fatal fire that destroyed the community? Why were Minnow's hands cut off? And who really murdered the Prophet?

Published in 2015, this book has been on my long list
“Growing up, I believed in miracles. I guess I don’t anymore.”

Let me start off by saying that while I knew that this book was going to be intense, I had no idea it would be so horrific yet brilliantly written. Yes, I loved the poetic writing, and yes, I was sick with disgust while reading some part of the books. If you like horror and can read through the things I am going to mention: Just read this book.

"I am deserving because even after everything, I'm still hopeful. The people who hurt m
Hannah ◇ReaderintheRough◇
Jul 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary, teen
"During showers, I have no choice but to strip down in front of the others, their eyes taking in the parts of me I was taught to keep hidden. Here, the scars usually shielded beneath yards of orange cotton are on display, the whip marks scoring my back from countless childhood punishments, the thick bands of red scar tissue cuffing both ankles. But, when I cast my eyes at the other bodies, I see skin tarnished with small holes of cigarette burns and pink puckered knife wounds and white lines lik ...more
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Actual Rating 4.5

The best young adult books challenge you. They make you laugh, they make you cry, but most of all they make you think. For days after you turn the last page, you’ll find your thoughts drifting back to them.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly falls into this category, and will make you realise just how good it is to have hands.

“Do we even need to cuff her?” one cop mutters.
“Look at what she did,” the other insists. “You saw the kid, looked like he’d been run over.”
“But just
May 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing book. Honestly.

I've never read a book that has to do with cults but I've seen information about them on the news and such. Although this book is fiction I can't help but think there is a certain amount of truth to this novel. I'd really recommend this book to anyone from young adults to adults.

"It's a small kind weapon, this story. I stab someone with it and they hurt, every time."

I don't even know how to begin writing this review. It was just so good that I can't put i
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Everyone always assumes it's with hands that people disobey. The Prophet thought so, too. If only he knew, if only everyone knew, my hands were never the source of my disobedience.


Now that I’ve read it, I wonder why this book isn’t talked about more, but then again, I probably wouldn’t have read it if my friend and co-blogger Chantal hadn’t pushed it on me. She was right to do so, because after reading it, I wanted to kick myself for not picking this up sooner. This book is
Vanessa J.

Buddy read with Chantal! (click for her review)

“I am a blood-soaked girl.”

It's difficult not to feel a little sadness when it comes to this book. From the first line (the one quoted above), I was already guessing it was going to be that way. It's very simple, really, what the book is about, but that does not mean the book is weak.

Simply put, it's about uncovering the mystery of the death of the Prophet of a certain Comunity of religious people, and finding out who or what caused the fire tha
Melanie (TBR and Beyond)
“Anger is a kind of murder you commit in your heart.” If this is true, I’m a daily murderer. My heart is more full of blood than I ever imagined.”

Trigger warnings: Religious themes/abuse, child abuse, and graphic violence.

I don't think I've ever read a fiction novel about a cult. This book was shocking, disturbing, heartbreaking and still at the end of the day, very inspired.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is not for the faint of heart. I read this book in a couple of days but I haven't bee
Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
This review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!

A religious cult with brainwashed fanatics. A headstrong girl with no hands. Leaving one prison for another. Despite it’s subject matter, The Scared Lies of Minnow Bly avoids every single cliche with cults, disability and inmates and is one of the most powerful and compelling books I’ve read all year.

The story is highly unexpected, starting with Minnow covered in blood and being thrown into juvie. You would think a girl who
Melissa (Mel’s Bookshelf)
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-of-2015
Absolutely an enjoyable read. Yes I know I know, I was going to get away from Young Adult for a while... But seriously everything is Young adult right now. There is no escaping it!

Minnow escapes from a cult and is put into juvenile detention. She knows something about what happened to the cult leader, and about who set their community on fire. During her stay she is interviewed by an FBI officer who attempts to get the truth out of her. But she is not willing to share all the details. She has se
This is one of those books whose cover trapped me.
 photo Booky books_zpsrszvokqt.jpg

I sort of felt this was written to capitalize on the popularity of women in prison (thanks, Orange Is the New Black), cults (thanks, all stories told everywhere), and physical deformity, specifically brought about by abuse. It's like the publishing house put a notice out to its authors, suggesting that whoever wrote about these things would get a bonus in their pay.

Minnow's family was invited into a cult when Minnow was 5. Now she's a teen, s
If this doesn't get a damn award at the end of the year, I am rioting.

Yeah, you're gonna want to hurl from all of the anger, but in between all of the ugliness, the horrors, the pain, and the rage, there are little moments, beautiful, shining moments. Who are the monsters, and who are the men?

Come prepared with a hardened heart and an open mind.
3.75/5. Dark, gripping, surprising.
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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Stephanie Oakes is a teacher and YA author from Washington State. Her debut novel, THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY (Dial/Penguin, June 9, 2015), about a girl who escapes from a religious commune only to find herself at the center of a murder investigation, is based on the Grimm fairy tale, "The Handless Maiden."

THE ARSONIST, her second YA mystery through Dial/Penguin, is scheduled for publication in

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