“I am a blood soaked girl”
What an opening line! It sets the tone for the most engaging and unique YA novels of 2015. The genre of Young Adult is flooded with generic love stories, tales of sickness or loss, with ‘chosen one’ heroines and neat happy endings. The Scared Lies of Minnow Bly, has plenty of loss – both physical and emotional – and a tender thread of love, a heroine of sorts who finds herself, and a really rewarding conclusion. But it is none of the cliches you expect to see in this genre.
“[He] taught me what love was: to be willing to hold on to another person’s pain”
This novel is completely absorbing and emotionally charged, in a way that I was not expecting after reading the synopsis: a teen girl escapes from a cult after her hands are cut off. This doesn’t truly represent the depth of this book.
Under the very well-crafted prose is a simple a beautiful tale of finding yourself and growing up. It’s a timeless theme that any age can appreciate, and something that we all struggle with in one way or another.
“But the offer of freedom doesn’t mean anything to people who already think they’re free.”
As the story builds, there are references to other books, some that readers who are actually around the recommended ‘teen’ age group might be familiar with (The Giver) and some I can’t really imagine they would enjoy yet (Tess of D’Urbervilles) but I loved the way these stories influenced the characters and wrapped themselves into the narrative.
Overall, this is an incredibly well-written debut novel. I expect this book will be on all the ‘must-read’ lists of 2015, and it is well deserving of that title.
*Note* I received an uncorrected proof from the Publisher Harper-Collins before the publication date. I was not required to write a review. Please note that some quotes above may differ from the final published version.