The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

Spoiler Alert: I have quite a contrary opinion about this book.

Several popular reviewers have showered The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly with praise. While I respect their opinions, I am not about to do the same. I know  Stephanie Oakes has drawn from her well of inspiration to bring this book to readers all over. I appreciate that. However, I found The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly lacking originality. The prison setting in the book? Just like Orange is the New Black. The cult described in the book? Clearly it parallels Mormonism. HBO’s Big Love broke that ground (not to mention Broadway’s The Book of Mormon). So does YA really need a (controversial) Mormon treatment? I don’t think so.

Undeniably, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly holds its readers fascinated because of the description of the Kevinian cult and its activities. However, the prison scenes are less than captivating. On the upside, the book was suspenseful and was great at keeping me guessing. Unfortunately the “lyrical” prose is spotty, which makes it quite painful. You read great sentences and then must wander through deserts of words. If you’re interested in the milieu of prison without reading an OiTNB redux, I suggest Nova Ren Suma’s The Walls Around Us.

Finally, for a book so explicitly detailed throughout, I find the vague ending quite disappointing. The secondary characters wrap up quite neatly. But the main character (Minnow)? Not so much.

I didn’t really hate The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly. The books I dislike I can hardly ever finish. I just wish Stephanie Oakes would have gave it more originality and a clearer ending. I will however read her next and next novel and hope for the best.

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