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The Virtue of Sin

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4.13  ·  Rating details ·  120 ratings  ·  69 reviews
A compelling novel about speaking out, standing up, and breaking free -- perfect for fans of The Handmaid's Tale.

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
...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published June 25th 2019 by Philomel Books
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4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  120 ratings  ·  69 reviews


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Amanda
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
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Christina Dalcher
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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meg chia
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
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Sarah
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Ciera
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
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
Maison
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was very pleased to be able read an ARC of this book!

The synopsis caught my attention right away. This novel is based in the heart of a religious community (a cult). First off, The way the characters progressed throughout the story is impressive. The pacing was exceptional, it really highlighted the idea that the community has brainwashed the people within it. There's one character, Aaron, who knows more about the 'Outside' world than everyone else taking part in the cult because he had lived
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Michelle
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Danielle Hammelef
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
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Energy
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Kayla
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ariana
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
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Viktoriya
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1-2019
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
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Leah
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Nicole
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
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Aryn
The Virtue of Sin is an entry into the coming-of-age in a cult/religious extremist group genre of YA fiction, a genre I find morbidly fascinating. With the steady publication of these types of stories, I’m not alone in that fascination. In this case, Miriam is a sixteen year old girl in the second generation of the Children of Daniel. In their closed community of New Jerusalem, God has instructed Daniel, the charismatic prophet who leads the community, that it is time for the second generation t ...more
heather - NightlyReading
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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gwendalyn _books_
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Virtue of Sin
Shannon Schuren
⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank You BOOKISHFIRST.COM for sending me an early ARC to read and review this book, all my opinions are my own.

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 tha
...more
Hannah
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Bookish First and Penguin Teen for the ARC of this book!

The best way that I can describe this book is a mash-up of Jonestown and Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix. It has all of the urgency of Haddix's book and the same feel of isolation combined with the charismatic and dangerous leader of the real-life Jonestown.

New Jerusalem is an oasis in the middle of the desert (although we don't find out WHICH desert until much later in the book). It is a self-sufficient religiou
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Linda Naquin
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
First off, I drove past Zzyzx my whole life anytime my family drove to Las Vegas, and I always wondered about the place. Then I Googled it as an adult and read about the health spa con. Reading a book that builds a secondary con on top of this site? Pure. Genius.

I loved this book. I like to think of it as a YA Handmaid's Tale crossed with Matched and a dash of Speak. The story is about a young girl living as a second generation in an established cult who receives her first major disappointment a
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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
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Mara
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism, arc, fiction
Miriam was born and raised in New Jerusalem; her parents were among the first faithful. She accepts her world at face value (strict male/female separation before marriage, weird rules of socializing after marriage, interpretation of dreams, etc.) but when the ordained Matrimony doesn't go like it's supposed to, she starts asking questions. Interestingly, she's willing to accept the unexpected results, except that so many people, from charismatic autocrat Daniel on down, are clearly upset about t ...more
Staci Campbell
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Virtue of Sin by Shannon Schuer
4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A compelling novel about speaking out, standing up, and breaking free -- perfect for fans of The Handmaid's Tale. 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
...more
Moondust Moth
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,
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CR
May 28, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was so excited when this book showed up but sadly it just wasn't what I thought it was going to be. At first I thought it was going to be this amazing dystopian or fantasy. But what I found was one set in our world about a cult that well to tell you the truth was pretty lack luster. This one started off wowing me but quickly turned to something that was bogged down with religion, lyrical writing, and characters that I just didn't really care about.

Parts of the story were well paced but for t
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Melissa
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
As soon as I read the promotional blurb about The Virtue of Sin, I knew I had to read this book! I've been a fan of YA fiction for a while now and the thought of a book that centered around a teen girl named Miriam who has grown up in and is still enmeshed in a cult was too exciting to resist.

I enjoyed this book a good deal. Schuren (the author) does a good job of introducing the characters and the environment of living in this particular religious community. The mid-section of the book drags a
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Laura Benbenaissa
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the first book review I have had to write, and I am beyond pleased in doing so. I was fortunate to have been given an advanced reader copy and this novel did not disappoint. Miriam lives in a world of seclusion, where everything that surrounds her is the only world she has ever known. She has reached an age where it is time to marry and looks forward to what her new life will bring. Living in the world of New Jerusalem where strict rules dictate lives and men chose their wives, Miriam is ...more
S. A. Hackett
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, own
The Virtue of Sin by Shannon Schuren is a beautiful tale spun about a younger generation living in a religious cult, questioning their beliefs. Schuren’s ability to captivate the reader within Miriam and Caleb’s life shows the research and dedication she had for these characters and of the setting. The book was perfectly paced, I’m glad that we saw Miriam and Caleb’s struggle and confusion throughout the book. Belief vs. Faith was a strong theme in the book that resonated with the characters wal ...more
Dawn
May 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rate 2.75 stars

I instantly fell into the world of this book. Miriam is the main protagonist. She is a young 16 year old girl who is living in a small religious community called New Jerusalem. In her community the women are expected to obey the men always, never voice their opinion, be submissive and quiet. 
Miriam feels so conflicted because she believes in the living prophet Daniel and the Almighty, but also feels oppressed that she cannot speak her mind. Miriam and the other girls are of age t
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Cheryl G
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a bit of a Houdini. It started out with very dystopian vibes but ended up as a twisted story about a cult controlled by one delirious but powerful man. We meet our heroine, Miriam on the day of her wedding. She is very excited about marrying Caleb and entering into their ‘private period’ of getting to know each other. Needless to say it all goes pear-shaped when Aaron utters her name instead of Caleb.

What follows is a story that makes you question everyone and everything you’ve co
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Shana
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was thrilled to be able to read an ARC of The Virtue of Sin. The book tells the story of Miriam, a young girl raised in a cult in the Southern California desert where women are forced to marry at the whim of their leader. The story is told between Miriam's perspective, and another boy cult-member Caleb's voice. Between them we learn how this community has been built to silence the members and keep them trapped in their encampment. So much impressed me about this book, the world-building necess ...more
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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