July Buzz Book

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly
by Stephanie Oakes


What The Teen Press Corps Is Saying

“The novel starts with Minnow being sentenced to juvie for beating a man almost to death right after she escaped the cult, and shows flashbacks to her life at the camp. This book took on faith, trauma, and even the prison system. Minnow was taught that her only purpose in life was to bear children. Questioning the word of the Prophet led to punishment. The world outside the camp was dangerous, and the camp was protected by God. Yet she asked questions, sneaked away, and refused to marry when she was told. Then she lost her home, her family, and her hands. I admired Minnow’s strength and determination, but I also respected her fear, anger, and guilt. The darker sides of Minnow’s emotions and outcomes of her trauma were laid bare, never sacrificed for a sanitized story of triumph. Minnow’s connections with the FBI agent Dr. Wilson and her cellmate Angel helped her heal.”

–Emily, Teen Press Corps


saced lies


About the Book

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 unlearn 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 By is a hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in oneself.

National Buzz

 “Suspense, dread, and hope intermingle in Oakes’s charged, page-turning debut.”
Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“In beautiful and harrowing prose, Stephanie Oakes’ debut peels back the veneer of fairy tales to reveal their inherent darkness.”

The Scared Lies of Minnow Bly is a psychological thriller, a commentary on our justice system, and a must read book.”

“A page-turner in the truest form of the phrase.”

“Based on Grimm’s fairy tale, ‘The Handless Maiden,’ the powerful, fluent writing; engrossing and well-layered mystery; compelling characters; and provocative ideas about family, faith, honesty, loyalty, and friendship are engaging . . . Ellen Hopkins devotees and fans of The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams will seek this one out.”
School Library Journal

“Dark and . . . hugely involving.”
Kirkus Reviews


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