Published by HarperCollins Australia on June 22, 2015
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
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The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, and her ability to trust.
And when Minnow rebelled, they took away her hands, too.
Now the Kevinian Prophet has been murdered and the camp set aflame and it's clear Minnow knows something. But she's not talking. As she adjusts to a life behind bars in juvenile detention, Minnow struggles to make sense of all she has been taught to believe, particularly as she dwells on 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 is willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.
Powerful and compelling. this remarkable and brave debut novel reveals the terrible dangers of blind faith. And the importance of having faith in yourself.
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 has escaped from a cult, with no hands, would be victimised and submissive. But the Minnow that we know, is hardened, sinister, damaged, a force to be reckoned with. She’s arrogant and knows how to manipulate others.
I wonder if this is how the Prophet felt the moment he ordered my hands ripped from me.
Minnow is a surprising character. Despite being severely disabled, she never plays the victim. She uses all of her means possible to protect and guard herself from her suppressors, both psychologically and mentally. It made me realise that no matter your circumstance, whether you are severely disadvantaged or disabled, that it’s all in your mindset. And although Minnow ended up being thrown into prison and she had no hands, she was never weak.
Most of the book is set in juvie which was an interesting twist. Minnow’s cell mate, Angel is one of the most feared prisoners but she quickly realises the strength in Minnow and takes her under her wing. Together, they face the other inmates, including bullies, lesbians and the ones looking for redemption. Although Angel is a criminal, she really helps Minnow heal and grow as a character.
My father once told me that all you needed to hurt someone is a single word, said just wrong enough. Anybody is capable of enormous harm, anyone with a mouth or a hand to write with.
You know how much I love thrillers, and there’s an underlying mystery of what happened to Minnow’s cult leader and her home which is now a charred remains. The mystery kept me guessing throughout, wondering what had happened and whether Minnow was the cause of it due to her unreliable narration.
There’s a sinister feeling in the story, threaded with hope and realisation that Minnow will heal. She’s come from the sickest of places, and has been let down by her mother, her father, and everyone she’s ever loved. But she’ll experience a journey of realisation, of hope and of redemption, and learn to trust and let people in again. Slowly, we’ll hear her confessions, descending into the darkest of secrets and only then she will begin to heal. It’s a powerful journey for Minnow who has escaped from the darkest of places, and being thrown into prison will begin her healing.
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is a thrilling, unexpected and mysterious read, offering character growth, juvie life, a disturbing religious cult and the darker moments of a girl with no hands. It’s an incredibly powerful and confronting book with an unforgettable character.
Rating: 5 out of 5 (One of the best books I’ve read all year)
Thank you to HarperCollins Australia for sending me this book for review!