Published by HarperCollins Publishers Australia on June 22nd 2015
Source: Bookworld Reviewer Program
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The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, and her ability to trust. And when Minnow rebelled, they took away her hands, too.
Now the Kevinian Prophet has been murdered and the camp set aflame and it's clear Minnow knows something. But she's not talking. As she adjusts to a life behind bars in juvenile detention, Minnow struggles to make sense of all she has been taught to believe, particularly as she dwells on 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 is willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.
Powerful and compelling. this remarkable and brave debut novel reveals the terrible dangers of blind faith. And the importance of having faith in yourself.
– A story of self-discovery and faith, sometimes brutal but never overwhelming.
Okay, where to begin with this book? I knew going into it that it was going to involve a cult, and brutality at least involving the removal of a girl’s hands. I was a bit nervous to start! What I wasn’t prepared for was Minnow’s strength, intelligence and determination. What a fantastic character!
Minnow’s story is gradually revealed in the form of stories that she tells to her counselor Doctor Wilson and to her cellmate, Angel. Minnow is strong, willful, even manipulative of the people around her, never letting herself become weak, even with her missing hands. She adjusts back into life outside the Community surprisingly quickly. The gradual revelation of the events leading to Minnow’s escape from the Community means that the tension is kept amazingly high throughout the whole book. I had a lot of trouble putting it down!
If you’re worried, like I was, about possibly violence or sexual abuse in this book, rest assured. Although there is violence, it doesn’t overwhelm the story and thankfully is not directed at anyone younger than seventeen. While there are mentions of girls marrying at sixteen in the community, there is no sexual aggression. There is a gentle love story, but it isn’t the focus of Minnow’s tale at all.
I feel that a book like this should be on high school curricula – I took away a very strong message to respect others beliefs, even if you don’t share them, and that you should always question what you are told to believe by others.
An amazing story written in a very engaging way, worth the hype that it has received so far. I’ll be looking for what Stephanie Oakes produces next.