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The Virtue of Sin

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  570 ratings  ·  146 reviews
A novel about speaking out, standing up, and breaking free.

Miriam lives in New Jerusalem, a haven in the desert far away from the sins and depravity of the outside world. Within the gates of New Jerusalem, and under the eye of its founder and leader, Daniel, Miriam knows she is safe. Cared for. Even if she’s forced, as a girl, to quiet her tongue when she has thoughts she
Kindle Edition, 432 pages
Published June 25th 2019 by Philomel Books
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Shannon It's a stand alone book. I'd love to write a sequel some day, but there is nothing is the works right now. …moreIt's a stand alone book. I'd love to write a sequel some day, but there is nothing is the works right now. (less)

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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  570 ratings  ·  146 reviews

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Kim Friant
3 Stars— Ok, so to start, I’ll admit that my own life experiences and education completely colored my reading and other people will totally have a different opinion. This really seemed to stick out while I was reading and I wish I could say that I loved this book, but I can’t. The story itself, the mystery, the twists, I did enjoy. This book had the potential to be such a great book with a fascinating cult, and amazing plot . . . But the thing that ruined it for me was the author’s own ignorance ...more
Christina Dalcher
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: arcs
Oh, yeah. Give me a book about a cult and I will devour it in no time, which is pretty much the way I read Shuren's fabulous YA story about love, growing up, independent thinking, and breaking free of dogma. Reminds me of a wonderful quote from Richard Dawkins: "There is no such thing as a Christian child; only a child of Christian parents."
This is an important story for so many reasons, but Dawkins sums it up best. Oh, the things we do to our children.
Thank you to Shannon and Penguin Random Hou
Originally posted on: The Quirky Book Nerd

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

There are so many aspects of this story that appealed to both the book nerd and psychology nerd in me and I was completely absorbed from the start. This is the story of two teenagers who have spent their entire lives in a cult and how they deal with their newfound clarity about their situation as they are thrown into adulthood in the community. It is a novel that portrays
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 stars to this young adult novel about love, cults, and finding a voice.

It is the day of matrimony in New Jerusalem and Miriam is ready to be Caleb's husband. Despite boys and girls being separated since children, Miriam is sure that Caleb will select her to be his wife. However, when Aaron, an outsider who wasn't born in New Jerusalem, selects Miriam, she is certain there has been a mistake. According to the leader of New Jerusalem, Daniel, dreams are a message from God and signify who should
Jun 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookish-first, own
True Rating: 3.5/5

Miriam lives in a cult. But she doesn't know it is a cult. She was born into it. She, her mother and all the others in their community, follow the words of Daniel, a self-proclaimed prophet of God.

Miriam and her friends are set to take part in a special marriage ceremony. The girls and boys have been separated from childhood and therefore not allowed to talk to each other. But with a little help from Daniel, the boys will pick their future wife. Caleb knows Miriam is destined
Danielle Hammelef
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book from the very start and really can't find anything I didn't like. Here's what made this a highly rated book for me:

1) The writing--the metaphors alone are genius and signs of a talented artist
2) The characters--these people popped off the pages, especially Miriam and Aaron, my favorites
3) The cult society felt spot on
4) The family and friendship
5) Learning what it means to speak for yourself and finding your own voice
6) The suspense and pacing
7) The twists I NEVER saw coming an
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
It was HORRIBLE. Very confusing, and they are 16! Also, if this takes place in the present time, why has nobody investigated and found out that this is a scam?

Another thing is that the book drags on. It had the potential to be a great dystopian read about finding your voice in the midst of oppression, but was kind of lackluster. Also, every time it pointed out how oppressed women were, it flipped it right around to show how men didn’t have any rights either. It was boring and confusing.
Dana Al-Basha |  دانة الباشا
As a Palestinian, I was attracted to the book because it has the word "Jerusalem". ...more
Nemo (The ☾Moonlight☾ Library)
This review was originally posted on The Moonlight Library
I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into with this book.

I think I was expecting a bit of a dystopian - and it still kind of is, since it takes place inside a secluded community, which is why I have indicated that I think the genre can also be considered dystopian.

But it's really about faith, and trust, and blind faith and blind trust, and people who abuse power. And the power of thinking for yourself, and fighting back when things just
Feb 19, 2020 rated it liked it
For some reason books about cults always seem to fascinate me. I love reading about the people and their day to day lives. The Virtue of Sin did not disappoint. I was so intrigued by the inner workings of this cult that I did not want to put it down.

I loved reading about Miriam and watching as she slowly started to see the truth about the world she grew up in. My main complaint about this book was that it felt a little drawn out and slow. All the excitement happens towards the end. I wish that t
Tomes And Textiles
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
A feminist examination of religion and cults, in particular. I loved the dismantling of the use of bible verses in defense of patriarchal behavior. I also loved the discovering of the belief of oneself and coming into your own. Very few YA books about cults and this one is highly recommended.

Full review can be found on TOMES AND TEXTILES INSTAGRAM.

Sarai Davila
This book. I am 100% here for books that involve women in oppressive, cult-like situations. I find that every time I read a book in which religion is used as a means of suppressing women and their natural strength, I grow a deeper insight into why women stay in these situations, as well as a larger desire to find a way to help.

Although "The Virtue of Sin" is not expressly tied to one particular religion, it has the echoes and traits of a few different ones in our nation's history. The FLDS, in
Meg Chia (bibliophilogy)
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Three-word description : voice, religion, freedom
My rating : 4.5 / 5 stars

Ah this book! This one is a book I've picked up solely because of the intriguing synopsis that speaks out to me so much. I have been meaning to read a book that deals with similar topics like this, and I must say this book is amazing!

The plot starts off with Miriam, who had these dreams of the man she'd marry. She grew up living under the dictation of Daniel, the supposedly guidance on their path to Righteousness. Miriam,
Erika Lynn (shelf.inspiration)
3.5 Stars

See more on my Bookstagram: Shelf.Inspiration Instagram

“I had a dream and it made me fearful.” - The Virtue of Sin.

Miriam lives in New Jerusalem, a haven in the desert far away from the sins and depravity of the outside world. Within the gates of New Jerusalem, and under the eye of its founder and leader, Daniel, Miriam knows she is safe. Cared for. Even if she’s forced, as a girl, to quiet her tongue when she has thoughts she wants to share, Miriam knows that New Jerusalem is a far
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This young adult novel, written in the voice of several of the characters, is a fascinating look at the life of the individuals living in "New Jerusalem." A walled off community in the desert, led by Daniel, the founder of New Jerusalem. Miriam has lived in New Jerusalem all her life, she has been taught of the sin and dangers in the world outside the walls of her walled in home. She is safe in New Jerusalem, as long as she knows her place, believes in Daniel and all he teaches, and does what sh ...more
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Within the gates of New Jerusalem, Miriam, 16, lives under the eye of the community’s founder, Daniel. Miriam knows that she is cared for, even though she is forced to quiet her tongue, and is never given the ability to think for herself. When God calls for a marriage ceremony called a Matrimony, Miriam is certain that the boy she loves, Caleb, will select her to be his wife. When the ceremony goes wrong and Miriam ends up with someone else, Miriam begins to question the authenticity of New Jeru ...more
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc

I was so excited about this book. I loved the First Impression and needed to know what happens to the characters. Miriam has been raised in New Jerusalem, a community started by the prophet Daniel and the elders, including her parents. The second generation has been called to matrimony and each male will call the name of the woman God chose for him. Miriam is not nervous as she know Caleb will say her name. Her best friend Rachel is excited but 14 year old Delilah is scared. But then everything
Llyr Heller-Humphreys
It took me a little while to get into this book, but once I did it flew. Enjoyed the main character and although it was alternating chapters with two characters, hers was the stronger voice.
Madeline (biggerprint)
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I think I like cult books now? This was so interesting and infuriatingly fun to read. I love sweet baby Aaron, he is a wonderful lil cinnamon bun. Kinda didn’t like the ending because it felt rushed but Miriam is badass and she makes up for that. This is such a great example of young adults questioning what they grew up learning and recommend to anyone who likes a good cult story.
Paige Ovanisian
I thought this was going to have dystopian aspects, but it's just about a cult. This was an okay, if rather bland, story about the abuse of religion. I say bland because it was just so...normal. I suppose that's why it feels so insidious, because once you start peeling back layer after layer you may find that the problems are more severe than they first appear. What's sad is, this has happened and still happens to so many people in the real.

This story begins with Miriam, a sixteen-year-old girl,
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thought at first from the blurb that this would be Dystopian, but it's about a cult, the lengths a person in power will go to keep their followers in line and the sheer delusion of those trapped on the inside.

New Jerusalem sits out in the desert in California, set apart from the rest of the world, the inhabitants live a very secluded lifestyle. No reading, no tv, no music, no singing, women are kept repressed, encouraged not to speak, the focus of learning is on scripture and Daniel's interpr
May 01, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Allison Urban
May 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
The most interesting thing I took from this book was how much it read and seemed like a dystopian. The world-building and aspects of New Jerusalem, like the Matrimony and the dream interpretations, was very YA dystopian-esque. If you liked Divergent way back in the day, this seems quite similar at first. The brain-washing seemed very indicative of major religions, which I also thought was an interesting commentary. I really liked the alternative history of Zzyzx. However, the pacing was really s ...more
This book only gets two stars because of Aaron, he's the only good character in the whole book and honestly, while I understand why he wasn't a POV character I really wish he had been. Miriam was annoying and whiny and there really wasn't that much of a different between her POV and Caleb's POV. Because it's kind of late while I'm typing this and I'm tired, I'm going to try to not go super in depth and as a result I'm going to try not to spoil it. This is a warning now though just in case I do e ...more
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Thank you to Bookishfirst for giving me a copy of this ARC.

Novel is set in present time somewhere in the desert between California and Nevada, in a secluded settlement called New Jerusalem. Daniel, a self-proclaimed leader and a prophet, declared that God communicates directly through him and his visions. Through the decades of preaching, he was able to gather around a set of very devoted followers who never question anything he says or does. Eventually, Daniel brought his followers to New Jeru
Mar 08, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Miriam lives in New Jerusalem, a haven in the desert far away from the sins and cruel world. Under the eagle eye of New Jerusalem's found and leader, Daniel, Miriam feels safe and cared for. Even though, as a girl, she isn't allowed to speak her mind and must quiet her tongue, especially around men. When God calls for a Matrimony, Miriam is excited to finally be with Caleb, the boy she loves and knows will call her name to be his wife. But when the ceremony goes wrong and Miriam winds up with Aa ...more
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
FIRST OFF THANK YOU BOOKISHFIRST.COM for sending me an ARC to read and review this amazing book before it was released!

My mind is blown and my heart is broken!!! So many people don't realize the effects of cults or the influence the "leader" has on these people. I'm hoping this book was based on fiction but the reality of it is that this actually occurs in our society and people who finally see the truth struggle to adjust. Everyone needs to read this book just to get a glimpse of the life of s
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I think that as a culture we have an obsession with the things that are strange, abnormal...the things that are almost unbelievable. And I think that cults fall easily into this category. So when I was randomly selected to receive a free copy of Shannon Schuren's The Virtue of Sin, I was super excited to get my hands on it! This novel really explores the ideas of indoctrination, truth, belief, faith, and the importance of having a voice.

Miriam was born in New Jerusalem, founded by their prophet
heather - NightlyReading
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received this book from a Bookish First giveaway. Once I read the first few chapters, I couldn't wait to see if I would actually win it for I wanted so much more! When it arrived in my mailbox, I did an internal dance of excitement and started it straight away.

This world is extremely frustrating for a woman and it reminded me a little of the Handmaid's Tale. Women are meant to do chores and literally not speak. Daniel is the leader of their group and he created a sanctuary to protect his citiz
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Bookish First Rea...: The Virtue of Sin by Shannon Schuren 1 4 Oct 22, 2019 12:36PM  

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Shannon Schuren works as a children’s librarian at a public library and writes from a cozy she-shed in her backyard. Her short stories have appeared in various journals such as Toasted Cheese Literary Journal, Big Pulp, and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Shannon has never joined a cult, but might be tempted if they serve gluten-free cookies. Shannon lives in Sheboygan Falls, WI, with her husband a ...more

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