Let me start off by saying that while I knew that this book was going to be intense, I had no idea it would be so horrific yet brilliantly written. Yes, I loved the poetic writing, and yes, I was sick with disgust while reading some part of the books. If you like horror and can read through the things I am going to mention: Just read this book.
"I am deserving because even after everything, I'm still hopeful. The people who hurt me couldn't kill my spirit. I'm dreaming still. See me, right now? Dreaming. And, given everything, that's pretty wonderful."
It's a story of a girl named Minnow Bly who was raised in a religious community known as Kevinian cult. Well, to be honest, the Prophet - whom the whole community followed - was a crazy, twisted person. The things he made people believe in were just ridiculous. The people in the community are brainwashed and believes anything the Prophet says.
”I hope you decide to wait for God’s call, Minnow. We are the chosen. The Sacrificed Prophets of Heaven. We will be rewarded grandly if we do God’s will. You won’t just meet Him. You will dine at His table every night. He will bathe you and heal you. He will touch you with His unknowable green eyes, and you will be saved.”
The story gets dark from the very first sentence of the book, “I am a blood soaked girl.” And let me assure you, the story just gets darker after that. The community I was talking about? It gets destroyed by the fire in which the Prophet also dies. Minnow is sent to juvenile for beating a guy and almost killing him, and is also the suspect of another crime. With that, the story starts with present and flashback scenes which slowly uncovers the mystery of who killed the Prohpet, and in between, many shocking secrets are revealed.
But to save the story and to give some hope, there's Minnow who, even though followed Prophet in the beginning because of her father, couldn't ignore the fact that not everything he said was true. As much as I feel sad for her, I love how brave she is. I can't even imagine someone going through the pain of losing their hands, and here is our main character, being bold and still fighting even without hands. Minnow's experience was horrifying but also very inspiring. Before being sent to juvenile, she used live in the woods with the community where there weren't taught to read, were married off at early age. Where men had many wives because, women were only capable of doing one thing: giving births. So when Minnow goes into juvenile detention, she starts questioning her beliefs. It was scary, to be honest, imagining a 17 year old girl going through this craziness. The only thing that made me keep reading was Minnow's voice and her hope.
The writing: I love when the book is written in first person narrative. It helps me connect more with the character and that's one of the reason I could connect so strongly with the character and the story. The chapters are very short, which was for the best because it made the book seem less heavy. It's isn't fast paced, but it'll keep you hooked with intriguing storyline and flashbacks. I am definitely a fan of the author's raw and beautiful writing.
While the book is very intense overall, there are also some light and funny moments between Minnow and the girls in the juvenile detention, especially Angel. I loved their friendship.
There's also Jude, whom I consider as a very important part of the story. There's very little romance in the book between Jude and Minnow. Thankfully there's no instalove or anything, it's just...sweet. Their scenes were very refreshing and kept the book from getting heavy.
"Jude taught me what love was: to be willing to hold on to another person's pain. That's it."
Some scenes were too graphic and scary, and there were times when I got angry, but I still glad that I read this book. It might not be for everyone, but I would still recommend it. Just read just book. That's all I have to say.