Genre: Young Adult, Retelling, Contemporary, Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Thriller
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.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 un-learn 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.
1. What five words best describe The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly?
Blood, cults, justice, friendship, self-discovery.
2. Tell us a little bit about Minnow Bly.
Minnow’s a pretty complicated character who goes through so much over the course of the book, which made her pretty difficult to write. I had a really hard time nailing down Minnow’s voice for most of the drafting phase of this book. It took me a while to fully appreciate just how much she actually goes through, and how that would affect someone. Minnow’s been raised most of her life in a religious cult, where nearly everything is strictly controlled (girls cant read and are married young) and when she rebels, the Prophet punishes her by cutting off her hands (this is pulled from the fairy tale “The Handless Maiden,” which The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly loosely retells). Eventually the light bulb went off—Minnow’s angry. She doesn’t know what to do with that anger, and she doesn’t necessarily feel entitled to it, but it’s definitely there. As soon as I figured that out, I knew how to write her.
3. What is one of your favorite books from when you were a child?
I’m a huuuuuge Harry Potter fan. I struggled with reading for a lot of my childhood, and even though I liked the idea of books, it was almost impossible to muscle my way through one. My mom bought me the first two Harry Potter books when I was twelve and I thought there was no way I’d be able to read them, but after the first chapter, I was hooked enough to keep pushing until I finished it. The rest is history!
4. Besides writing and reading, what do you like to do in your free time?
I love movies and TV shows, but my ability to keep up with everything I want to be watching has been severely cramped with all of the debut year craziness. I’ve made a massive “To Watch” list for the summer, though. I’m really excited to watch Daredevil and the new season of Orange is the New Black on Netflix.
5. What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a revision for my second novel, The Arsonist, which is another YA mystery but quite different from Minnow Bly. It’s about a girl and a boy in California who are thrust together to investigate the murder of a teenage girl in the 1980s at the hands of the East German secret police.
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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 fall 2016.