Minnow Bly is in prison because she brutally beat a man under a bridge, beat him so badly he was hospitalized, even though she has no hands. That's right: Minnow recently escaped a cult where her hands were cut off as a punishment for disobedience. As Minnow adjusts to life away from the cult and in the juvenile detention center, she meets with an FBI agent who is trying to get the whole story of the Kevinian cult, especially the events leading up to the fires that claimed the life of their leader. Minnow knows who killed him, but will she tell?
Wow. This book was a difficult one to read, but I found myself compelled to turn the pages even as I was horrified by what happened to Minnow and the others in the cult. The juxtaposition of Minnow's life of relative freedom within the juvenile detention center and her very controlled existence in the cult is astounding. For the longest time I was sure I had figured out the ending, but I was actually surprised because the person I thought had killed the prophet actually didn't do it. This is a difficult book, but a great one. Recommended.
Recommended for: teens, fans of books with strict religious groups
Red Flags: language, lots of violence (the main character gets her hands amputated with a hatchet, for one thing)
Overall Rating: 5/5 stars
Read-Alike Suggestions: A Good Courage, The Poisonwood Bible, Eden West, Watch the Sky