Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 9th, 2015
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, Mystery, YA
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.
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.”
Latest posts by Melanie (see all)
- Giveaway: The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare - February 14, 2016
- Midnight Blogging 101: The Thing About ARCs - January 16, 2016
- YA Midnight Reads is looking for a new co-blogger! - January 9, 2016
- Mel’s 2016 Resolutions (That Hopefully Will Last the Year) - January 7, 2016