By: Melanie | June 2, 2015 | (28) Comments

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly tour
Blog Tour: The Sacred Lies of Minnow BlyThe Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 9th, 2015
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, Mystery, YA
Pages: 400
Source: Received in exchange for review
Goodreads | Purchase

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

Thank you to the lovely The Fantastic Flying Book Club for hosting this blog tour! Click here for the full tour schedule.

Today we have the ever so lovely Stephanie Oakes, author of upcoming release, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly on the blog! While this book will be her first novel, it has already received so much love and hype. It’s a psychological thriller with with some fairytale retelling incorporated into it – this has been one of my most highly anticipated novels for this year, and once you’ve read this post, I’m sure it’ll be yours too!

On writing fairytale retellings

I absolutely love fairy tale retellings. I feel like you learn so much about an author by watching them reinvent a story we all know. For me, it has the same appeal as listening to a cover of a song. You get to see what the artist’s unique perspective is, get to watch them turn the familiar into something new. The fairy tale I decided to retell in The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly was “The Handless Maiden,” which was most famously recorded by the Brothers Grimm but which, I learned, actually exists in different versions in many cultures around the world. When I set out to retell “The Handless Maiden,” I knew I wanted to write something original. To me, that meant avoiding setting my retelling in a “typical” medieval fantasy world. Lots of retellings have already done this extremely well, so I knew I needed to head in a different direction. What interested me the most was either a futuristic retelling or a modern day retelling. Little known fact—The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly actually started out as a dystopian novel! I wrote the whole draft, revised it, and submitted it to agents. It wasn’t working on many levels, and eventually it dawned on me—this isn’t a futuristic story. This is a story of the modern world.

Once I figured out where to set the story—in a remote religious commune in the wilderness of Montana—the rest was the fun part. I think the best part of writing a retelling is letting your mind run wild with the assignment, finding new ways to spin the various pieces of the familiar story. The maiden became my protagonist, Minnow. The devil who orders her hands cut off became the cult’s leader, the Prophet. The angel who saves the maiden became Minnow’s cellmate in juvie. Like a puzzle, I fit in references to the original tale.

A final important piece of retelling a fairy tale is finding the themes. Usually fairy tales were moral stories, intended to teach the listener a lesson. Sometimes, these messages are a bit clichéd and superficial, so the reteller has to dig a little to find some of the less obvious themes. I realized “The Handless Maiden” was about how easily girls can become collateral damage. I got to explore this theme further in the juvenile detention center setting where, as Minnow says once, “every girl has had her own personal Prophet.”



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About Stephanie Oakes

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.

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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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28 Responses to Blog Tour: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

  1. Vane says:

    This makes me even more excited for this book! It looks so good. I love psychological thrillers.
    Vane recently posted…Review: The Count of Monte CristoMy Profile

  2. Hannah says:

    Such an interesting interview! The premise of this book has me seriously intrigued.
    Hannah recently posted…Review: Openly Straight by Bill KonigsbergMy Profile

  3. Ksenia says:

    Wonderful post! I haven’t heard about this book before, but now I’m intrigued.
    Ksenia recently posted…Mini-review: Captive (Captive #1) by Brighton WalshMy Profile

  4. Lexa Cain says:

    This looks very interesting – and a bit shocking! Cool! 🙂
    Lexa Cain recently posted…Congratulations to the Winners!My Profile

  5. OMG I DID NOT KNOW THIS WAS A RETELLING. I need to read it, like, immediately.
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…10 Books I Decree Should Be Pulchritudinous FilmsMy Profile

  6. Oh, wow. This does sound good. Exceptionally good, in fact. I haven’t read the Handless Maiden or know what it is about, which is why I shall google and get back to you. Beautiful post – the process of writing is unique to everyone, and this was fun to read 🙂
    Madiha @ Symphony of Words recently posted…Review: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. MaasMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Yeah, I still need to research up the Handless Maiden before reading this! Right? Oakes’ writing is gorgeous and I’ve heard her novel is just that too.

  7. I find it so fascinating that this book is actually a retelling! I haven’t heard of the Handless Maiden before but I love how the author modernised the setting. I loved this book so much when I read it!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Thriller Reviews #1 – Night Film & The Girl on the TrainMy Profile

  8. Oh this sounds like a fantastic debit novel. I have to say that I haven’t really seen it around but I’m glad stopped by today. I have to say that I’m always hesitant with fairy tale retellings as they never really go down very well in my book. But I will look out for this one especially with the thriller genre behind it. Great post. 🙂
    Emma @ Never Judge a Book by its Cover recently posted…REVIEW – P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU by Jenny HanMy Profile

  9. Kaitlyn A. says:

    I can’t wait to read this book because it sounds like the perfect mystery/thriller I have been looking for! Plus, I really love the concept of this book!

  10. Benish says:

    Wow, I love the sound of cults in books. I’m surprised it’s so underrated in books even though it’s a realistic concept. I didn’t know it was a retelling though. Everyone seems to be liking this book so here’s to hoping. Wonderful review Mel <3
    Benish recently posted…#Ten Mini Reviews ♥ Immaculate, Written In The Stars, Nowhere but Here & more.My Profile

  11. Lovely guest post. I love hearing about how authors work, and Stephanie’s insight here into her story was fascinating. I really want to read this now!
    Rochelle Sharpe recently posted…Review: Common Ground by Cheryl Adnams. #AWW2015My Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Right? I find guest posts really interesting to read. I was surprised to find out how many people didn’t really like reading them when I hosted my survey a while back, huh.

  12. czai says:

    this is one of the books I’m really anticipating this year. I really love the premise of this one especially the involvement of cults. I haven’t read a lot of retellings which really makes me want to read this even more!
    czai recently posted…[REVIEW] The Secret IngredientMy Profile

  13. Olivia Roach says:

    As I mention quite a lot, I am a huge fan of fairytale retellings! I consume them as much as possible and love almost every one. I like seeing the creative ways the normal fairytales can be retold as and finding what the author changes. This one sounds great and I know it’s on my TBR already.
    Olivia Roach recently posted…Olivia’s Catastrophe ~ The Book Nerd LabelMy Profile

  14. Pingback: 10 Reasons Why You Should Read Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly RIGHT NOW | Infinity Reads

  15. WilliamBek says:

    Hey, thanks for the article.Really thank you!

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