The Virtue of Sin
A novel about speaking out, standing up, and breaking free.Miriam lives in New Jerusalem, a haven in the desert far away from the sins and depravity of the outside world. Within the gates of New Jerusalem, and under the eye of its founder and leader, Daniel, Miriam knows she is safe. Cared for. Even if she’s forced, as a girl, to quiet her tongue when she has thoughts she wants to share, Miriam knows that New Jerusalem is a far better life than any alternative. So when God calls for a Matrimony, she’s thrilled; she knows that Caleb, the boy she loves, will choose her to be his wife and they can finally start their life together. But when the ceremony goes wrong and Miriam winds up with someone else, she can no longer keep quiet. For the first time, Miriam begins to question not only the rules that Daniel has set in place, but also what it is she believes in, and where she truly belongs. Alongside unexpected allies, Miriam fights to learn–and challenge–the truth behind the only way of life she’s ever known, even if it means straying from the path of Righteousness.

The Virtue of Sin Details

TitleThe Virtue of Sin
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 25th, 2019
PublisherPhilomel Books
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Religion, Science Fiction, Fiction, Dystopia, Young Adult Contemporary

The Virtue of Sin Review

  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    4 stars to this young adult novel about love, cults, and finding a voice.It is the day of matrimony in New Jerusalem and Miriam is ready to be Caleb's husband. Despite boys and girls being separated since children, Miriam is sure that Caleb will select her to be his wife. However, when Aaron, an outsider who wasn't born in New Jerusalem, selects Miriam, she is certain there has been a mistake. According to the leader of New Jerusalem, Daniel, dreams are a message from God and signify who should 4 stars to this young adult novel about love, cults, and finding a voice.It is the day of matrimony in New Jerusalem and Miriam is ready to be Caleb's husband. Despite boys and girls being separated since children, Miriam is sure that Caleb will select her to be his wife. However, when Aaron, an outsider who wasn't born in New Jerusalem, selects Miriam, she is certain there has been a mistake. According to the leader of New Jerusalem, Daniel, dreams are a message from God and signify who should marry who. Miriam has had dreams of Caleb and Caleb has had dreams of Miriam, yet Daniel is insistent that the matrimony went to plan. New Jerusalem is located in the desert in Nevada and for Miriam and the other teenagers, they know only of what happens inside the walls of their community. No one is allowed to venture out, unless they are banished which is the ultimate punishment. For the people living in New Jerusalem, Daniel promises salvation for when the end of days come in exchange for being faithful. Being faithful means listening to Daniel (who claims he is a prophet of God), constant praying, and women submitting to their husbands. The book is told between the alternating perspectives of Miriam and Caleb as they live with the after effects of not being married to each other. While trying to discover what went wrong, both begin to realize there are secrets in their community and Daniel might not be the prophet they think he is. It was very interesting to see how a cult would get established and how the people in the community would actually believe in someone like Daniel. The book had a good message about finding your voice, even when others try to silence it. It was young adult in that it followed two teenagers who are in young love and are forced apart, but the ideas in this book could resonate with adults as well.*I won a copy of this novel through BookishFirst in exchange for an honest opinion.*
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  • Christina Dalcher
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, yeah. Give me a book about a cult and I will devour it in no time, which is pretty much the way I read Shuren's fabulous YA story about love, growing up, independent thinking, and breaking free of dogma. Reminds me of a wonderful quote from Richard Dawkins: "There is no such thing as a Christian child; only a child of Christian parents."This is an important story for so many reasons, but Dawkins sums it up best. Oh, the things we do to our children.Thank you to Shannon and Penguin Random Hou Oh, yeah. Give me a book about a cult and I will devour it in no time, which is pretty much the way I read Shuren's fabulous YA story about love, growing up, independent thinking, and breaking free of dogma. Reminds me of a wonderful quote from Richard Dawkins: "There is no such thing as a Christian child; only a child of Christian parents."This is an important story for so many reasons, but Dawkins sums it up best. Oh, the things we do to our children.Thank you to Shannon and Penguin Random House (Philomel Books) for the opportunity to read and review an ARC of this beauty!
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  • meg chia
    January 1, 1970
    Three-word description : voice, religion, freedomMy rating : 4.5 / 5 starsAh this book! This one is a book I've picked up solely because of the intriguing synopsis that speaks out to me so much. I have been meaning to read a book that deals with similar topics like this, and I must say this book is amazing!The plot starts off with Miriam, who had these dreams of the man she'd marry. She grew up living under the dictation of Daniel, the supposedly guidance on their path to Righteousness. Miriam, Three-word description : voice, religion, freedomMy rating : 4.5 / 5 starsAh this book! This one is a book I've picked up solely because of the intriguing synopsis that speaks out to me so much. I have been meaning to read a book that deals with similar topics like this, and I must say this book is amazing!The plot starts off with Miriam, who had these dreams of the man she'd marry. She grew up living under the dictation of Daniel, the supposedly guidance on their path to Righteousness. Miriam, who has never visited the Outside (basically out of New Jerusalem) is brought up to believe that everything Daniel said was true, until she was married to another man, but not of her dreams. (Literally, she dreamt about Caleb.)This is told in dual-perspectives, Miriam and Caleb, the man of her dreams as they try to navigate and plough through the lines between what is ture and what is not. What if everything you've been told to believe is not true? Even if you know it is false, what does it take to stand up and speak out?This book is kind of like Divergent? But at the same time, it is so different from it. I'd say this is also a little dystopian-ish? It tackles so many different topics, freedom and speaking out. This is truly such an extraordinary book to read! I also learnt so much about the Bible and the religion itself, this is truly a pwerful and eye-opening read to anyone who is interested. And also, it has a great pacing too!Miriam and Caleb are such strong characters, they truly are fearless and have changed from a tiny, timid mouse to a full-grown lion. This is truly an empowering read in so many different ways and I would not have it another way.Overall, all of you nee this book in your life! This will definitely be on top of your favorites this year! I hope all of you can pick this up when it is released in all good bookstores!Thank you so much to Times Reads for sending me an ARC of this book for reviewing purposes, however all opinion is my own. Keep your eyes and cash out to snatch this book when it is released in June 2019!
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    This young adult novel, written in the voice of several of the characters, is a fascinating look at the life of the individuals living in "New Jerusalem." A walled off community in the desert, led by Daniel, the founder of New Jerusalem. Miriam has lived in New Jerusalem all her life, she has been taught of the sin and dangers in the world outside the walls of her walled in home. She is safe in New Jerusalem, as long as she knows her place, believes in Daniel and all he teaches, and does what sh This young adult novel, written in the voice of several of the characters, is a fascinating look at the life of the individuals living in "New Jerusalem." A walled off community in the desert, led by Daniel, the founder of New Jerusalem. Miriam has lived in New Jerusalem all her life, she has been taught of the sin and dangers in the world outside the walls of her walled in home. She is safe in New Jerusalem, as long as she knows her place, believes in Daniel and all he teaches, and does what she is told. She is told be be quiet, that singing is wrong outside of worship, that she cannot always know the secrets of what lays before her, but she must step into the next moment with faith. When we meet her, she is just about to be married. She believes she knows to whom, and she definitely knows who she loves, but things do not always work out as we plan. Can the unexpected change Miriam's life for the better? Shannon Schuren is a talented writer whose novel is easy to read and keeps the reader engrossed and connected to the story. Her characters are believable, well defined, and easy to either love or hate, depending on whom we are talking about, and where you may be in the story. I raced through the book, always wanting to know what happened on the next page. This tale of love, faith, betrayal, and standing up for what you believe, is worth every minute you spend on it and every penny you spend to get it!
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  • Maison
    January 1, 1970
    I was very pleased to be able read an ARC of this book! The synopsis caught my attention right away. This novel is based in the heart of a religious community (a cult). First off, The way the characters progressed throughout the story is impressive. The pacing was exceptional, it really highlighted the idea that the community has brainwashed the people within it. There's one character, Aaron, who knows more about the 'Outside' world than everyone else taking part in the cult because he had lived I was very pleased to be able read an ARC of this book! The synopsis caught my attention right away. This novel is based in the heart of a religious community (a cult). First off, The way the characters progressed throughout the story is impressive. The pacing was exceptional, it really highlighted the idea that the community has brainwashed the people within it. There's one character, Aaron, who knows more about the 'Outside' world than everyone else taking part in the cult because he had lived in the outside world previously. This has a nice influence on Miriam's character because she starts to question the cult mentality, however slowly. I enjoyed Miriam as a character, she has a lot of personality compared to those around her. She wasn't okay with being pushed around by men, and I found the feminism portrayed perfectly. It was worded well, and didn't feel over the top or forced. Also, if you like plot twist endings, this book's for you. The ending had me shocked (in a good way) and I couldn't put the book down. Overall, this was a great read and I highly recommend it.
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  • Kayla
    January 1, 1970
    *Disclaimer* I received an early copy from Bookish First and PhilomelBooks in exchange for an honest reviewI want to start off by saying I absolutely adored this book it was incredible and had a profound message. It is a mixture of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village and a remote desert community ruled by patriarchal views.The novel centers around Miriam a young woman who lives in New Jerusalem an isolated community run by a charismatic leader named Daniel. A man who claims to be a direct prophet o *Disclaimer* I received an early copy from Bookish First and PhilomelBooks in exchange for an honest reviewI want to start off by saying I absolutely adored this book it was incredible and had a profound message. It is a mixture of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village and a remote desert community ruled by patriarchal views.The novel centers around Miriam a young woman who lives in New Jerusalem an isolated community run by a charismatic leader named Daniel. A man who claims to be a direct prophet of God.When the novel begins Miriam and her best friends Rachel and Delilah are excited about going to the communities annual marriage ceremony. She already knows who will choose her as his wife her friend who she has grown to love Caleb. Miriam can’t wait to begin her life with him and as the story begins she sneaks out the night of the ceremony spying on the guys.Early on you learn that in this society women are not allowed to speak to the men only after they are married are they allowed to talk to their husbands. Even then though it is not encouraged because they are now under their husband’s authority. So as the story begins Miriam does sneak out trying to see if she can spot Caleb among the other men unaware that her friend Delilah has followed her. Delilah is one of the “youngest” of the older girls in the community and Miriam is concerned she is not old enough for marriage but as the novel puts it “because she has bled” She had been deemed old enough.The two girls were discussing the ceremony and concerns about getting caught when Miriam suddenly trips over a guy an “outsider” who has been bitten by a rattlesnake. Startled and unsure of what to do she reluctantly helps the stranger by sucking out the venom where he had been bitten on the ankle. Unfortunately for Miriam and Delilah they are caught by who I can only describe as the community’s snarkiest dogooder Susanna. She is a by the rule-book follower who delights in others mistakes. This causes both girls to be late to the ceremony causing great disappointment Miriam’s mother and her father Boaz.When they arrive a number of the men have already chosen their wives after having heard God’s command including Rachel who was chosen by Jacob. Susanna was also chosen by Caleb’s brother Marcus. Miriam’s are quickly dashed however when upon arriving late the outsider whom she had helped earlier unexpectedly calls out her name. Shocked Miriam has little choice but to accept her new reality she is now married a stranger not to Caleb. Caleb so stunned by this refuses to pick a bride to the great disappointment of his father. She spends time in a state of shock perplexed at her new reality this was not how things were supposed to go. She was not supposed to end up with the “outsider” a man she did not know. Her husband Aaron she could not figure out and immediately resents. She and Caleb decide they can take their case to the community’s leader Daniel after all Caleb had dreamed of Miriam God wanted the two of them together not her and some stranger she doesn’t even know. As her and Caleb struggle she has to get used to the idea of living with her new husband Aaron. She hates him and can’t even bare the thought that she will have to preform her “duties” as a married woman. Aaron and her could not be more different. She a dutiful religious woman who puts faith in her prophet Daniel who promised her and the other members of the community that he would lead them according to God’s word. Aaron on the other hand did not grow up in New Jerusalem is foul mouthed and does not appear to be all that devout. He is constantly questioning her about her beliefs and “this place” and constantly confuses her with how he acts.He likes to cook for example and that is traditionally a woman’s role. One night over a meal of chicken that he had prepared and while she asks him why he hasn’t pressured her to preform her “wifely” duties he drops a bombshell he will not ask her for that and never would because is gay and has boyfriend. She is stunned and does not know how to process this on top of the stress her husband’s revelation has caused her she has another thing to worry about. Her friend Delilah who was not chosen by any man during the marriage ceremony has been made to leave the community on the prophets orders to get an education. Miriam is at a loss desperate and unsure stuck in a loveless marriage.Her only comfort in life is Caleb. She secretly meets him one night to talk about what they should do. Caleb is a strong willed devout man who has every confidence in their prophet. When she makes mention that she too had dreamed of him he scoffs at that. Saving only men are sent dreams by God not women and that it is not their place to dream. This really throws Miriam he is trying to put her in her place and their relationship is never the same after that moment. Susanna though is always trying to make Miriam’s life miserable more so when she and Aaron get assigned to work with her parents making wool. The story alters in a big way after Aaron tries to reason with Miriam and explain that she is not part of a loving community run by a man with a direct line to God but a cult. He tells her that Daniel is not a prophet but a snake oil salesmen a con man and that he is manipulative. She then learns that it is Daniel who arranges the marriages. He has been living a lie sleeping not only with Susanna behind Marcus’s back , phoebe the only unmarried woman in the community and even Miriam’s own mother. She learns that she is in fact Daniel’s daughter and her friend Rachel’s sister. The novel ends in a shock after realizing that she has been taught and is living a lie. Miriam confronts Daniel and the community. He remains defiant and so so many in the community. Caleb who is heartbroken after Miriam’s revelations and rejection. Remains loyal to Daniel’s message ends his life with a self inflicted gun shot wound. Miriam, Delilah, a reluctant Rachel along with Aaron escapes New Jerusalem. In an ironic twist Miriam’s decides to remain.
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  • Viktoriya
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Bookishfirst for giving me a copy of this ARC. Novel is set in present time somewhere in the desert between California and Nevada, in a secluded settlement called New Jerusalem. Daniel, a self-proclaimed leader and a prophet, declared that God communicates directly through him and his visions. Through the decades of preaching, he was able to gather around a set of very devoted followers who never question anything he says or does. Eventually, Daniel brought his followers to New Jeru Thank you to Bookishfirst for giving me a copy of this ARC. Novel is set in present time somewhere in the desert between California and Nevada, in a secluded settlement called New Jerusalem. Daniel, a self-proclaimed leader and a prophet, declared that God communicates directly through him and his visions. Through the decades of preaching, he was able to gather around a set of very devoted followers who never question anything he says or does. Eventually, Daniel brought his followers to New Jerusalem, to live by God's word and by the Bible, and to completely shut out the "Outside" with all it's sins, violence, greed, etc.This is the world in which our main character, Miriam, was born and grew up. She's never been outside of the New Jerusalem, she doesn't know what's outside of it's walls, all she knows is that "Outside" is be feared and that she should never ever do anything that will get her banished to said "Outside". Right now she is a happy 16-year old, who is awaiting her Marriage Ceremony. All her life she was told that God will tell her who her husband will be, she will see him in her dreams. And Miriam saw Caleb, a boy who "talked" to her (communication between different sexes is strictly prohibited in this community, unless it's your own family members. However, Caleb found a way to send her sweet messages and Miriam is positive he is meant for her and she is meant for him). During a Marriage Ceremony a man (actually, a boy) calls a girl's name and that's who will become his wife (girls do not have a choice). Miriam is sure Caleb will call her name and they will be married in no time. However, something goes wrong, and another boy, Aaron, calls her name. Aaron and his family are still considered to be outsiders, since they joined their community only recently. Miriam is shocked and confused. Is it possible that God made a mistake by showing Caleb in her dreams? Will Daniel realize this is a mistake and stop the ceremony? Will Caleb now pick a different girl to be her wife? Why did Aaron call her name? Who Aaron really is?The plot thickens as Miriam slowly start finding answers to those questions. Not everything is nice and peachy in their utopian community. It is possible that Miriam was lied to all her life? This was a very interesting read. It is told from two perspectives: Caleb and Miriam. New Jerusalem is a very patriarchal community with clearly defined gender roles. So, it was a great choice, in my opinion, to give us both, a male and a female narratives. You can see how different their roles and responsibilities within community are, and at the same time you can see how similar their lives are. Despite the fact that women have absolutely no voice in Daniel's cult, men do not have that much freedom either.
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  • Energy
    January 1, 1970
    I thought at first from the blurb that this would be Dystopian, but it's about a cult, the lengths a person in power will go to keep their followers in line and the sheer delusion of those trapped on the inside. New Jerusalem sits out in the desert in California, set apart from the rest of the world, the inhabitants live a very secluded lifestyle. No reading, no tv, no music, no singing, women are kept repressed, encouraged not to speak, the focus of learning is on scripture and Daniel's interpr I thought at first from the blurb that this would be Dystopian, but it's about a cult, the lengths a person in power will go to keep their followers in line and the sheer delusion of those trapped on the inside. New Jerusalem sits out in the desert in California, set apart from the rest of the world, the inhabitants live a very secluded lifestyle. No reading, no tv, no music, no singing, women are kept repressed, encouraged not to speak, the focus of learning is on scripture and Daniel's interpretation of scripture, how he applies it to his followers and their lives. Miriam is a second generation member, her mother was with Daniel when New Jerusalem was formed. She sometimes questions why certain things are the way they are, but she isn't supposed to. Her mother is very tight-lipped when it comes to revealing her past, her life on what they call "the outside", something she's not supposed to talk about. But Miriam is a bit headstrong, and sometimes she's able to get her mother to open up about certain things. But this is her way of life, and she's a devout follower, most of the time. Until her day of Matrimony when she weds the foreigner and not the man she thought she would, Caleb. Her new husband, Aaron, isn't all about the rules, and his ideas might just chip away at Miriam's beliefs. There were times in reading that I cheered Miriam on, for doubting what she's been told, for wanting more, for questioning things she thought she knew. Then other times I just wanted to hit her for her blind regurgitation of Daniel's words. It's easy from the outside to judge and say Miriam should have known, she should have just believed Aaron because he knew the world "outside." But the level of brainwashing that happened here (and in cults such as this) is unimaginable. The new generation was born into this cult and being cut off from the outside world, they don't know any better, they have no way to know any better. I enjoyed both Miriam and Aaron's characters, much more so than Caleb. But I think that was because Miriam already had her doubts, so it made it easier for her to trust in Aaron, whereas Caleb scared me towards the end with how strong his faith was after everything he had seen. The Virtue of Sin is well-written, it's an engaging story with wonderful characters, a good read.
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  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    FIRST OFF THANK YOU BOOKISHFIRST.COM for sending me an ARC to read and review this amazing book before it was released! My mind is blown and my heart is broken!!! So many people don't realize the effects of cults or the influence the "leader" has on these people. I'm hoping this book was based on fiction but the reality of it is that this actually occurs in our society and people who finally see the truth struggle to adjust. Everyone needs to read this book just to get a glimpse of the life of s FIRST OFF THANK YOU BOOKISHFIRST.COM for sending me an ARC to read and review this amazing book before it was released! My mind is blown and my heart is broken!!! So many people don't realize the effects of cults or the influence the "leader" has on these people. I'm hoping this book was based on fiction but the reality of it is that this actually occurs in our society and people who finally see the truth struggle to adjust. Everyone needs to read this book just to get a glimpse of the life of someone born and raised in this type of life.Spoilers ahead!!! Miriam is a 16 yr old who was born into this life and believes full on that Daniel is a "prophet" of God. She believes its normal to get married at a young age and that the husband gets to make the decision without her say. Of course this isn't how she feels internally as she questions why only men get a say and women don't however if she voices these feelings aloud she is punished due to "daniel's law". Shes chosen by a guy who isn't her "love interest" and ensues a ton of mishaps and eye opening realizations. She begins to question EVERYTHING!!!! EVERYTHING!! From Daniel to his "dreams" to her friends and even her mother!! I won't go into it too much because I'm telling you its WORTH THE READ!! But my heart was broken for these teens.....these kids because essentially that's what they are KIDS having to make their way in this closed off community as married couples and doing menial chores to barter with for food. They believe in Daniel so much so that they hang onto every. single. word.I got about 3/4 of the way through the book and so many secrets were revealed without answers and I'm thinking the entire time "how is she going to get all of this into one book! I'm almost finished and I don't want it to be a rush job just to get it all out" I was blown away when I finished. There was no rush job and the way she finished things up was very tasteful.I really hope you pick up this book. Its not dystopian based as most of the YA books seem to be right now but I honestly felt like this was a great read.It wasn't as graphic as the Handmaid's Tale but it did sort of send off that type of vibe. Not in the great scale of conquering the entire United States but I'm sure he could have pulled it off farther than just in a dessert.
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  • Aryn
    January 1, 1970
    The Virtue of Sin is an entry into the coming-of-age in a cult/religious extremist group genre of YA fiction, a genre I find morbidly fascinating. With the steady publication of these types of stories, I’m not alone in that fascination. In this case, Miriam is a sixteen year old girl in the second generation of the Children of Daniel. In their closed community of New Jerusalem, God has instructed Daniel, the charismatic prophet who leads the community, that it is time for the second generation t The Virtue of Sin is an entry into the coming-of-age in a cult/religious extremist group genre of YA fiction, a genre I find morbidly fascinating. With the steady publication of these types of stories, I’m not alone in that fascination. In this case, Miriam is a sixteen year old girl in the second generation of the Children of Daniel. In their closed community of New Jerusalem, God has instructed Daniel, the charismatic prophet who leads the community, that it is time for the second generation to engage in a Matrimony. Miriam and her friends are excited, since they will be chosen as wives by the boys of the second generation, a role that they have been preparing for their whole lives. Miriam is sure that she will be chosen by Caleb, who she has communicated with via secret messages, even though the girls are forbidden to speak to or around men until they are married. But on the night of the Matrimony, something goes wrong. Instead of Caleb, Miriam’s name is called by Aaron, a boy who recently joined the community with his family. The Matrimony kicks off a series of events that will change not only Miriam’s life but the future of the community forever. I enjoyed The Virtue of Sin. The pacing occasionally felt a bit slow, though that might have something to do with the fact that I’m someone who flips forward to the end of a book fairly early on, so I know where things are headed. Short chapters and changing narrators keep the pace moving, and Miriam’s confusion and questioning of her beliefs felt authentic. I do appreciate that this takes a different path on the cult/religious extremist narrative in that Daniel and the other elders do not marry the teenage girls. Instead Schuren plays with the idea of love in your teens as a basis for marriage and defining what it means to love someone. Recommended for: Readers of the The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly (though this story isn’t quite as horrifying) and other cult/religious extremist novels. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via BookishFirst in exchange for an honest review.
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  • heather - NightlyReading
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from a Bookish First giveaway. Once I read the first few chapters, I couldn't wait to see if I would actually win it for I wanted so much more! When it arrived in my mailbox, I did an internal dance of excitement and started it straight away.This world is extremely frustrating for a woman and it reminded me a little of the Handmaid's Tale. Women are meant to do chores and literally not speak. Daniel is the leader of their group and he created a sanctuary to protect his citiz I received this book from a Bookish First giveaway. Once I read the first few chapters, I couldn't wait to see if I would actually win it for I wanted so much more! When it arrived in my mailbox, I did an internal dance of excitement and started it straight away.This world is extremely frustrating for a woman and it reminded me a little of the Handmaid's Tale. Women are meant to do chores and literally not speak. Daniel is the leader of their group and he created a sanctuary to protect his citizen's from the outside world where it is full of crime, lust & hate. The story starts off with the group having their second matrimony ceremony and getting ready for the festivities. This is where we meet our cast of characters. The story is mainly told in dual POV by Miriam and Caleb. I adored both of these characters. They both were born in the sanctuary, so this is the only life they have ever known. The concept is that the men get a sign from God in their dreams which they journal daily. Daniel helps them to interpret their dreams and helps them choose whom their wife should be at the time of the ceremony. The men get to choose while the women are just to obey and not question. As children, they would all play together but once they reached a certain age, the girls & boys are separated until the day of their marriage ceremony. They are not to speak or touch each other until then. Miriam & Caleb both know that they should be together but somehow there is a snafu and the story takes an interesting twist.At first, this world seemed amazing. They lived such a simple life filled with their undying faith. But, somewhere while reading, I started to get this icky feeling deep in my gut and I knew things just weren't as they seemed.The ending left me full of sorrow. I am thankful to the author that she gave us a very nicely wrapped up last chapter. I believe this book is a stand alone but would love to see how Miriam fairs after the fact with all that has happened to her.This is Ms. Schuren's debut novel and honestly, I loved it. There was never a dull moment and I felt the book's pacing was perfection. I am looking forward to seeing what else she has in store for us.
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  • gwendalyn _books_
    January 1, 1970
    The Virtue of Sin Shannon Schuren ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Thank You BOOKISHFIRST.COM for sending me an early ARC to read and review this book, all my opinions are my own. Miriam lives in New Jerusalem, a haven in the desert far away from the sins and depravity of the outside world. Within the gates of New Jerusalem, and under the eye of its founder and leader, Daniel, Miriam knows she is safe. Cared for. Even if she’s forced, as a girl, to quiet her tongue when she has thoughts she wants to share, Miriam knows tha The Virtue of Sin Shannon Schuren ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Thank You BOOKISHFIRST.COM for sending me an early ARC to read and review this book, all my opinions are my own. Miriam lives in New Jerusalem, a haven in the desert far away from the sins and depravity of the outside world. Within the gates of New Jerusalem, and under the eye of its founder and leader, Daniel, Miriam knows she is safe. Cared for. Even if she’s forced, as a girl, to quiet her tongue when she has thoughts she wants to share, Miriam knows that New Jerusalem is a far better life than any alternative. So when God calls for a Matrimony, she’s thrilled; she knows that Caleb, the boy she loves, will choose her to be his wife and they can finally start their life together. But when the ceremony goes wrong and Miriam winds up with someone else, she can no longer keep quiet. For the first time, Miriam begins to question not only the rules that Daniel has set in place, but also what it is she believes in, and where she truly belongs. Alongside unexpected allies, Miriam fights to learn–and challenge–the truth behind the only way of life she’s ever known, even if it means straying from the path of Righteousness Debut author Schuren’s choice to alternate the point of view between Miriam and Caleb, who are two teenagers living in New Jerusalem under the direction of a (self-proclaimed) prophet, Daniel. Miriam is the strong protagonist in this book, who must Join unexpected allies, to challenge the truth behind the only way of life she’s ever known, even if it means straying from the path of the cultish beliefs in her society of what is righteous. The author has created an interesting captivating book that was challenging for me to read. I stepped out of my comfort zone and delved deeper into a storyline about a cult. The characters were well developed, and the pacing was perfect for the content of a character driven book. This book ultimately is about a young woman who has been brought up in a secluded lifestyle of a Cult. She must find her voice to stand up to the belief system she was taught under.
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  • Linda Naquin
    January 1, 1970
    First off, I drove past Zzyzx my whole life anytime my family drove to Las Vegas, and I always wondered about the place. Then I Googled it as an adult and read about the health spa con. Reading a book that builds a secondary con on top of this site? Pure. Genius.I loved this book. I like to think of it as a YA Handmaid's Tale crossed with Matched and a dash of Speak. The story is about a young girl living as a second generation in an established cult who receives her first major disappointment a First off, I drove past Zzyzx my whole life anytime my family drove to Las Vegas, and I always wondered about the place. Then I Googled it as an adult and read about the health spa con. Reading a book that builds a secondary con on top of this site? Pure. Genius.I loved this book. I like to think of it as a YA Handmaid's Tale crossed with Matched and a dash of Speak. The story is about a young girl living as a second generation in an established cult who receives her first major disappointment at the hands of her leader and begins to doubt her faith in him.It was so enthralling to read from Miriam's perspective as a child who was born and raised in this compound and literally knows nothing of the outside world. It was such an interesting point of view and it made her banter with Aaron absolutely wonderful. She was a perfect blend of naive, blind-faith, and skeptical intelligence. She was a fantastic MC.Then there was Caleb, our other point of view in this tale. He was our typical faithful servant / blind follower, and the level of brainwashing that affected this kid was insane. His character was irritating at times, but also easy to forgive because it clearly wasn't entirely his fault. Being blindly molded into a male-dominant/female-submissive society without ever knowing there was another way makes it hard to imagine another way, especially when your leader gives you absolutely zero insight into the outside world, and literally everyone else in the compound just GOES WITH IT. They didn't have any books except for the Bible, for goodness' sake! How was he supposed to know any better, any other way? And yet, I still didn't like him.Overall, this book was amazing and I could NOT put it down! I needed to know, I needed to know it all, I needed to know how deep it all went, how demented it all was, how sick and pervasive, and PHEW it was good! A couple of twists at the end that I didn't see coming, a few that I totally did, and a (mostly) satisfying ending. Definitely add this one to your TBR!
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Bookish First and Penguin Teen for the ARC of this book! The best way that I can describe this book is a mash-up of Jonestown and Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix. It has all of the urgency of Haddix's book and the same feel of isolation combined with the charismatic and dangerous leader of the real-life Jonestown. New Jerusalem is an oasis in the middle of the desert (although we don't find out WHICH desert until much later in the book). It is a self-sufficient religiou Thanks to Bookish First and Penguin Teen for the ARC of this book! The best way that I can describe this book is a mash-up of Jonestown and Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix. It has all of the urgency of Haddix's book and the same feel of isolation combined with the charismatic and dangerous leader of the real-life Jonestown. New Jerusalem is an oasis in the middle of the desert (although we don't find out WHICH desert until much later in the book). It is a self-sufficient religious commune where everyone does their part and "Keeps Faithful" in exchange for entrance into Paradise. New Jerusalem is led by a man named Daniel, a self-proclaimed profit of God who maintains order, interprets dreams, and speaks to God. The women of New Jerusalem are told to hold their tongues and submit to the will of their fathers, their husbands, and, above all, Daniel. Peace and order have been maintained in New Jerusalem for a generation, ever since the Elders followed Daniel into the desert to found the colony. The men and women were paired off during the first Matrimony and proceeded to procreate. Now the eldest children of the second generation have reached a marriageable age. It is time for the second Matrimony. The young men of New Jerusalem are supposed to have dreams of their future wives as a sign that the union is ordained by God. Miriam knows that she and Caleb are meant to be together; Caleb has dreamt of her. She is sure she knows her future, but then something goes terribly wrong at the Matrimony and the dark past of New Jerusalem, hidden like the caves upon which the colony is built, comes to light. This book is incredibly well written and captivating. The narrative switches between the characters of Miriam and Caleb so the reader gets to experience events from two perspectives. It is particularly interesting to hear the inner thoughts of the two characters and how each comes to grips with the knowledge that the place they were born and the man they were raised to believe was a prophet may not be all they assumed he was.
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  • Staci Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    A Virtue of Sin by Shannon Schuer4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐A compelling novel about speaking out, standing up, and breaking free -- perfect for fans of The Handmaid's Tale. Miriam lives in New Jerusalem, a haven in the desert far away from the sins and depravity of the outside world. Within the gates of New Jerusalem, and under the eye of its founder and leader, Daniel, Miriam knows she is safe. Cared for. Even if she's forced, as a girl, to quiet her tongue when she has thoughts she wants to share, Miriam knows A Virtue of Sin by Shannon Schuer4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐A compelling novel about speaking out, standing up, and breaking free -- perfect for fans of The Handmaid's Tale. Miriam lives in New Jerusalem, a haven in the desert far away from the sins and depravity of the outside world. Within the gates of New Jerusalem, and under the eye of its founder and leader, Daniel, Miriam knows she is safe. Cared for. Even if she's forced, as a girl, to quiet her tongue when she has thoughts she wants to share, Miriam knows that New Jerusalem is a far better life than any alternative. So when God calls for a Matrimony, she's thrilled; she knows that Caleb, the boy she loves, will choose her to be his wife and they can finally start their life together. But when the ceremony goes wrong and Miriam winds up with someone else, she can no longer keep quiet. For the first time, Miriam begins to question not only the rules that Daniel has set in place, but also what it is she believes in, and where she truly belongs. Alongside unexpected allies, Miriam fights to learn--and challenge--the truth behind the only way of life she's ever known, even if it means straying from the path of Righteousness. A compelling debut novel about speaking out, standing up, and breaking free."Compelling, gripping and dangerous!!"I loved the plot and characters were perfect. A definate reccomendation!! I wanted this simply from the synopsis, a cult classic on the rise. What must you sacrifice to have faith? Will you speak up? These and more are answered and explored with amazing detail!! Releases June 25th, 2019. Arc from author and publisher in return for this honest exchange.
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  • CR
    January 1, 1970
    I was so excited when this book showed up but sadly it just wasn't what I thought it was going to be. At first I thought it was going to be this amazing dystopian or fantasy. But what I found was one set in our world about a cult that well to tell you the truth was pretty lack luster. This one started off wowing me but quickly turned to something that was bogged down with religion, lyrical writing, and characters that I just didn't really care about. Parts of the story were well paced but for t I was so excited when this book showed up but sadly it just wasn't what I thought it was going to be. At first I thought it was going to be this amazing dystopian or fantasy. But what I found was one set in our world about a cult that well to tell you the truth was pretty lack luster. This one started off wowing me but quickly turned to something that was bogged down with religion, lyrical writing, and characters that I just didn't really care about. Parts of the story were well paced but for the most part it was very slow. I think this one could have easily been 200+ pages shorter which would have sped up the story and taken out a lot of the slow boring parts that we really didn't need at all. I also thought that it was really weird that right after the main character gets married off that they didn't consummate their marriage. In every other cult title both adult and young adult the story goes from marriage to sex then life. This is a way to make solidify the dominance over the women. So it was a little weird that that aspect was left out. The ending to this one left me with a bad taste in my mouth as it just didn't give me enough. I wished that the author would have skipped ahead a few months or even a year. It would have given the story that extra that it needed to really tie up the end. Go Into This One Knowing: Realistic Fiction, More Contemporary, Cult, VERY Religious, Forced Marriage, Mentions of Rape, Unfulfilling Ending
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  • Moondust Moth
    January 1, 1970
    I thought this was going to have dystopian aspects, but it's just about a cult. This was an okay, if rather bland, story about the abuse of religion. I say bland because it was just so...normal. I suppose that's why it feels so insidious, because once you start peeling back layer after layer you may find that the problems are more severe than they first appear. What's sad is, this has happened and still happens to so many people in the real.This story begins with Miriam, a sixteen-year-old girl, I thought this was going to have dystopian aspects, but it's just about a cult. This was an okay, if rather bland, story about the abuse of religion. I say bland because it was just so...normal. I suppose that's why it feels so insidious, because once you start peeling back layer after layer you may find that the problems are more severe than they first appear. What's sad is, this has happened and still happens to so many people in the real.This story begins with Miriam, a sixteen-year-old girl, on her wedding day. To be more specific, she as well as a handful of other girls ages 14-17 are being married off to random boys in New Jerusalem, a fenced off and guarded compound in the California desert. Tonight a boy they have never even so much as spoken to will call their name, and then they will be married and taken to their marriage bed, as is 'God's will'. Women are not allowed to speak or question. Women are not allowed to show their hair or their skin. Women are not allowed choice, for anything. Women are property belonging to men.Their 'prophet' Daniel has brainwashed his flock and has bent the word of God to such a degree that he has essentially built a haven for himself where all revere him; he's a psychopath playing God. The first generation are a bunch of crazies, and the second generation knows nothing else having been indoctrinated since birth. Daniel has crafted his world in a way where the people of New Jerusalem are plain and uneducated, perfect for manipulating. They're expected to spend all their time in worship, and while they believe they're worshiping the word of God, they're actually worshipping Daniel and his 'interpretations'.Miriam seems to be the only person in the compound who can think for herself. She slowly notices the unfairness, the abuse, and questions why 'God' would allow such things to happen. If He loved them, why would He silence them? Why would He put someone else's happiness above anyone else's? I don't want to give too much of the plot away, but the turn of events focus on revelations of all sorts from changes of the heart to the importance of exacting free will, and the power of women, the lengths some men will go to control women to keep them from becoming powerful individuals.The story was okay, but not my particular cup of tea. Admittedly I did start skimming through about 2/3 of the way through the book because I had become so bored with their drama, and the inconsistency portrayed by the second generation. It was a little irritating that the second generation had this sort of...modern way about them. Slang, phrasings, the 'mean girl' thing that went on, the 'rebel' - it probably shouldn't have been there, and felt less authentic.The ending was pretty good, and I loved how the author chose not to tack on some kind of "but even though this bad shit happened, God has a purpose bla bla bla" bullshit that I've seen which is always infuriating. Sometimes bad shit just happens, and religion isn't always kind to everyone, especially women or 'sinners'. Folks who enjoy cult-centered plots would love this book.ARC received via raffle on BookishFirst! ♡Content Warnings for cults, religion, brainwashing, sexism, forced marriage, violence, guns, abandonment, intrusion of privacy, mentions of rape, sexual harassment, adultery, gayphobic content, church shootings, teenage runaways, statutory rape, kidnapping. ♡
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  • Ciera
    January 1, 1970
    Within the gates of New Jerusalem, Miriam, 16, lives under the eye of the community’s founder, Daniel. Miriam knows that she is cared for, even though she is forced to quiet her tongue, and is never given the ability to think for herself. When God calls for a marriage ceremony called a Matrimony, Miriam is certain that the boy she loves, Caleb, will select her to be his wife. When the ceremony goes wrong and Miriam ends up with someone else, Miriam begins to question the authenticity of New Jeru Within the gates of New Jerusalem, Miriam, 16, lives under the eye of the community’s founder, Daniel. Miriam knows that she is cared for, even though she is forced to quiet her tongue, and is never given the ability to think for herself. When God calls for a marriage ceremony called a Matrimony, Miriam is certain that the boy she loves, Caleb, will select her to be his wife. When the ceremony goes wrong and Miriam ends up with someone else, Miriam begins to question the authenticity of New Jerusalem and Daniel’s motives.⁣⁣For Handmaid’s Tale fans, you are guaranteed to enjoy THE VIRTUE OF SIN. I surprisingly enjoyed the religious aspects of the novel, despite not being a member of the Christian community. Schuren incorporates religious text into her novel to establish a cult-like atmosphere that is clearly present in New Jerusalem. If anything, through her characters, Schuren hints at the fact that religion is totally bogus and that humans should always feel the need to question everything around them. I was instantly hooked within the first few pages of THE VIRTUE OF SIN, but ultimately, at 419 pages, this one took me a while to get through. The story arc gets a little repetitive about halfway through the book but ends with a twisted resolution. Schuren’s novel comes out next Tuesday, and it’s one I definitely recommend adding to your TBR list!⁣⁣Story concept: 🌟🌟🌟🌟/5⁣Execution: 🌟🌟🌟/5⁣⁣Thank you so much BookishHq and Penguin Teen for the advanced reader copy!
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    As soon as I read the promotional blurb about The Virtue of Sin, I knew I had to read this book! I've been a fan of YA fiction for a while now and the thought of a book that centered around a teen girl named Miriam who has grown up in and is still enmeshed in a cult was too exciting to resist.I enjoyed this book a good deal. Schuren (the author) does a good job of introducing the characters and the environment of living in this particular religious community. The mid-section of the book drags a As soon as I read the promotional blurb about The Virtue of Sin, I knew I had to read this book! I've been a fan of YA fiction for a while now and the thought of a book that centered around a teen girl named Miriam who has grown up in and is still enmeshed in a cult was too exciting to resist.I enjoyed this book a good deal. Schuren (the author) does a good job of introducing the characters and the environment of living in this particular religious community. The mid-section of the book drags a bit as the plot slows down rather unnecessarily, but the end makes up for it with rapidly developing drama. There are some segments of confusing dialogue where the author does not clearly communicate who is speaking, which is annoying and slows down the reader's comprehension. As I read an ARC, these issues may be ironed out by the time the finished version is published.Overall, I would definitely recommend this book for fans of YA fiction, particularly those that enjoy contemporary settings or are intrigued by cults. The author does a great job of developing the main character as the book goes along. There were definitely times, early on, that I wanted to shake Miriam and tell her that she was being completely illogical but then I checked myself and realized that was the whole point. She starts out as naive and fully invested in the religious ideology peddled by the leader, Daniel, but by the end she has begun thinking on her own and seeking for personal autonomy and agency.
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  • Laura Benbenaissa
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first book review I have had to write, and I am beyond pleased in doing so. I was fortunate to have been given an advanced reader copy and this novel did not disappoint. Miriam lives in a world of seclusion, where everything that surrounds her is the only world she has ever known. She has reached an age where it is time to marry and looks forward to what her new life will bring. Living in the world of New Jerusalem where strict rules dictate lives and men chose their wives, Miriam is This is the first book review I have had to write, and I am beyond pleased in doing so. I was fortunate to have been given an advanced reader copy and this novel did not disappoint. Miriam lives in a world of seclusion, where everything that surrounds her is the only world she has ever known. She has reached an age where it is time to marry and looks forward to what her new life will bring. Living in the world of New Jerusalem where strict rules dictate lives and men chose their wives, Miriam is certain it will be Caleb. This story is narrated between these two characters, in alternating chapters. Through their eyes we meet the other characters and the world they are deemed safe in. When the outsider Aaron choses Miriam instead of Caleb, everything she's ever known begins to fall apart around her. This novel shows that sometimes you have to brave venturing outside into an unfamiliar world. Sometimes you have to make up your own mind and take the necessary steps in order to avoid the same fate. This was a really good book, filled with the appropriate suspense making it hard to put down. I would definitely recommend this book for others to enjoy and look forward to seeing what else Shannon creates!
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  • S. A. Hackett
    January 1, 1970
    The Virtue of Sin by Shannon Schuren is a beautiful tale spun about a younger generation living in a religious cult, questioning their beliefs. Schuren’s ability to captivate the reader within Miriam and Caleb’s life shows the research and dedication she had for these characters and of the setting. The book was perfectly paced, I’m glad that we saw Miriam and Caleb’s struggle and confusion throughout the book. Belief vs. Faith was a strong theme in the book that resonated with the characters wal The Virtue of Sin by Shannon Schuren is a beautiful tale spun about a younger generation living in a religious cult, questioning their beliefs. Schuren’s ability to captivate the reader within Miriam and Caleb’s life shows the research and dedication she had for these characters and of the setting. The book was perfectly paced, I’m glad that we saw Miriam and Caleb’s struggle and confusion throughout the book. Belief vs. Faith was a strong theme in the book that resonated with the characters walk towards freedom at the end. The accusations and “sins” everyone was committing encompassed Schuren’s unique way in leveling out the battle between Belief vs. Faith. The quoted scriptures headlining Miriam’s chapters fit perfectly and captured my attention to the book and outside experiences as well. Caleb’s perspective was hard to grasp. It fell flat and secondary to me and I didn’t enjoy the straying from Miriam’s perspective. This story was Miriam’s not Caleb’s, so I wished it was told solely from her point of view. But other than that, I enjoyed the book and I feel relieved at the end. I would like a follow up on Miriam as she experiences the “Outside”. That would make a great book too!
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  • Dawn
    January 1, 1970
    Rate 2.75 starsI instantly fell into the world of this book. Miriam is the main protagonist. She is a young 16 year old girl who is living in a small religious community called New Jerusalem. In her community the women are expected to obey the men always, never voice their opinion, be submissive and quiet.  Miriam feels so conflicted because she believes in the living prophet Daniel and the Almighty, but also feels oppressed that she cannot speak her mind. Miriam and the other girls are of age t Rate 2.75 starsI instantly fell into the world of this book. Miriam is the main protagonist. She is a young 16 year old girl who is living in a small religious community called New Jerusalem. In her community the women are expected to obey the men always, never voice their opinion, be submissive and quiet.  Miriam feels so conflicted because she believes in the living prophet Daniel and the Almighty, but also feels oppressed that she cannot speak her mind. Miriam and the other girls are of age that they must be married to the other boys their age. But something goes wrong and Miriam doesn't get picked by the boy she loves even though she is forbidden to talk to him prior to the ceremony.  Her friend Aaron begins to show her some cracks in this perfect community. She begins to question her life. Is Daniel all that he seems? The plot moved along predictably and the ending as well. I felt the writing flowed well and I was intrigued from the very start. The reason i rated it was I felt like it was just a blah book. That there are other similar themed books about cults. The plot was also very much used in many books.   
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  • Cheryl G
    January 1, 1970
    This book was a bit of a Houdini. It started out with very dystopian vibes but ended up as a twisted story about a cult controlled by one delirious but powerful man. We meet our heroine, Miriam on the day of her wedding. She is very excited about marrying Caleb and entering into their ‘private period’ of getting to know each other. Needless to say it all goes pear-shaped when Aaron utters her name instead of Caleb. What follows is a story that makes you question everyone and everything you’ve co This book was a bit of a Houdini. It started out with very dystopian vibes but ended up as a twisted story about a cult controlled by one delirious but powerful man. We meet our heroine, Miriam on the day of her wedding. She is very excited about marrying Caleb and entering into their ‘private period’ of getting to know each other. Needless to say it all goes pear-shaped when Aaron utters her name instead of Caleb. What follows is a story that makes you question everyone and everything you’ve come to know since Chapter one. Even though this story has more twists than a rattlesnake (and there are plenty of those in this book too), Ms Schuren keeps everything in an easy to follow dialogue. I didn’t read this book, I devoured it!! It kept me coming back every chance I got. It went back and forth to work every single day and always sat at the corner of my desk like a reward when lunch time rolled around. I am so excited to read future offerings from this exciting offer. So thankful to @PenguinTeen for the opportunity to get this wonderful ARC.
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  • Shana
    January 1, 1970
    I was thrilled to be able to read an ARC of The Virtue of Sin. The book tells the story of Miriam, a young girl raised in a cult in the Southern California desert where women are forced to marry at the whim of their leader. The story is told between Miriam's perspective, and another boy cult-member Caleb's voice. Between them we learn how this community has been built to silence the members and keep them trapped in their encampment. So much impressed me about this book, the world-building necess I was thrilled to be able to read an ARC of The Virtue of Sin. The book tells the story of Miriam, a young girl raised in a cult in the Southern California desert where women are forced to marry at the whim of their leader. The story is told between Miriam's perspective, and another boy cult-member Caleb's voice. Between them we learn how this community has been built to silence the members and keep them trapped in their encampment. So much impressed me about this book, the world-building necessary for this type of contemporary was so expertly handled.This is a YA that should pack a lot of cross-over appeal, perfect for anyone interested in cults, women's rights, the place of religion in society, family and friendship. Ultimately an antidote to much of the dichotomous thinking of our time this would be great fodder for classroom discussions and bookclubs of all kinds (particularly mother-daughter). I couldn't put it down. #novel19s
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  • Leslie M.
    January 1, 1970
    The book is set in the present day in a secluded settlement called New Jerusalem. The leader, Daniel, proclaims that he's a prophet, with his direction coming straight from God. Over the years, he's gathered a larger group of followers willing to shut out the "Outside." The story is told in alternating POVs: Miriam and Caleb. There's a nice mix of characters, and they're relatable, for the most part. The ending is nicely wrapped up, though it wasn't quite what I was expecting. The pacing is appr The book is set in the present day in a secluded settlement called New Jerusalem. The leader, Daniel, proclaims that he's a prophet, with his direction coming straight from God. Over the years, he's gathered a larger group of followers willing to shut out the "Outside." The story is told in alternating POVs: Miriam and Caleb. There's a nice mix of characters, and they're relatable, for the most part. The ending is nicely wrapped up, though it wasn't quite what I was expecting. The pacing is appropriate to keep the reader engaged.It gives them something to think about regarding the roles of men and women in today's society. This is the author's debut, and it appears she'll have a bright future, if this book is any indication of what she does with her next books.Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy from Bookish First and the publisher, but I wasn't required to leave a positive review.
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  • Alexis
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book so much! I feel like I might start stopping people on the street and tell them that they need to check out this book! From the minute I read the description, I knew this one was one that I would have to read. I loved these characters! I loved following them on their journey. I loved that I became more and more invested as the story went on - to the point at the end that I had to force myself to put it down when I had to do the reading interruption things, like work. Even though I loved this book so much! I feel like I might start stopping people on the street and tell them that they need to check out this book! From the minute I read the description, I knew this one was one that I would have to read. I loved these characters! I loved following them on their journey. I loved that I became more and more invested as the story went on - to the point at the end that I had to force myself to put it down when I had to do the reading interruption things, like work. Even though it's pretty clear WHAT has to happen, the need and drive to learn the HOW alongside the characters was impressive. I would recommend this book for... well, everybody, lol. But, as the back of the book says, if you enjoyed the Handmaid's Tale, or the Matched series by Ally Condie, or even the Divergent series by Veronica Roth - then I would say it's a pretty safe bet you will enjoy this one too!
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  • Vaisakh Karuvath
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! This book will become a classic. The book is focused on Miriam who follows the "norms" of her society in which she gets married young and lets her husband decide everything for her. This is a great book dealing with feminism and freedom which is completely fitting as it describes our society right now! We see Miriam doing what she is told, but she has doubt. YAY! She knows inside that she needs to be doing things herself. She needs to be the one controlling her life. She starts rethinking e Wow! This book will become a classic. The book is focused on Miriam who follows the "norms" of her society in which she gets married young and lets her husband decide everything for her. This is a great book dealing with feminism and freedom which is completely fitting as it describes our society right now! We see Miriam doing what she is told, but she has doubt. YAY! She knows inside that she needs to be doing things herself. She needs to be the one controlling her life. She starts rethinking everything. I loved this book! If you have ever read Audacity by Melanie Crowder, this book will remind you a lot of that. I was very happy to read this book because this is something I feel a lot of women go through. Although I do not speak for women myself I do feel that our society needs to change in some aspects. I am a man myself and I was very enjoyed after reading this book. It is a great read and I am sure it will win many awards to come!! 1,000,000/10!!!!
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  • Kim McGee
    January 1, 1970
    This is a classic story of a cult built on misinformation and the powerful leaning on the submissive. It could happen anywhere to anyone. Miriam has grown up in the desert away from all the sin of the world and like her parents, believes that Daniel and his teachings are from God. She believes in prayer, peace and being virtuous until that wonderful ceremony when at 16, she will be chosen by a young man and become a wife. She has been told that her chosen will come to her in a dream and that he This is a classic story of a cult built on misinformation and the powerful leaning on the submissive. It could happen anywhere to anyone. Miriam has grown up in the desert away from all the sin of the world and like her parents, believes that Daniel and his teachings are from God. She believes in prayer, peace and being virtuous until that wonderful ceremony when at 16, she will be chosen by a young man and become a wife. She has been told that her chosen will come to her in a dream and that he will have the same dream. What happens if the one you are certain of is not the one who picks you? Suddenly, all the teachings and stories begin to have cracks. Is the punishment of not going along with the plan worse than living your life with someone you don't want to be with? This young adult book will be a good pick for strong younger readers and adults alike. My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    In many ways, this book felt more like a teenage soap opera than a thriller about a scary cult. Sure there was the corrupt leader. Sure there was the person questioning his behaviour. Sure there were plenty of people happily following along. But, for a group supposedly so god-like, there was a lot of jealousy, back-stabbing, violent behaviour, etc. In fact, the overriding feeling I had regarding one of the main characters that the reader is supposed to consider a good guy was how prone to violen In many ways, this book felt more like a teenage soap opera than a thriller about a scary cult. Sure there was the corrupt leader. Sure there was the person questioning his behaviour. Sure there were plenty of people happily following along. But, for a group supposedly so god-like, there was a lot of jealousy, back-stabbing, violent behaviour, etc. In fact, the overriding feeling I had regarding one of the main characters that the reader is supposed to consider a good guy was how prone to violence and anger he was. In addition to this odd characteristic, I felt Ms. Schuren leaned too heavily on the now somewhat stale trope of the strong defiant female saving the clan/group/whatever. It was very evident from the very beginning where this story was ending. The journey to get there was interesting and enjoyable but nothing made this story unique or stand-out.Thanks to Bookishfirst for a copy of the book. This review is my own opinion.
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  • Felicite Reads
    January 1, 1970
    I DEVOURED this book. The story was compelling, a bit predictable but still really well done. This YA story is told from the perspectives of Miriam and Caleb, two teenagers living in New Jerusalem under the direction of a (self-proclaimed) prophet, Daniel. Miriam is an out-spoken but devout follower of Daniel though she internally questions why men have more power than women. Caleb, however, is devout and happily living without questioning the rules in New Jerusalem...until after the Matrimony e I DEVOURED this book. The story was compelling, a bit predictable but still really well done. This YA story is told from the perspectives of Miriam and Caleb, two teenagers living in New Jerusalem under the direction of a (self-proclaimed) prophet, Daniel. Miriam is an out-spoken but devout follower of Daniel though she internally questions why men have more power than women. Caleb, however, is devout and happily living without questioning the rules in New Jerusalem...until after the Matrimony event, when everything goes wrong. This is a coming of age story that takes place in a cult where women are expected to submit, be quiet, and reproduce while men choose their wives, shame women for their own faults, and, of course, speak out loud. All of this in the name of the lord. Or is it?
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