When Sarah Merson receives the opportunity of a lifetime to attend the most elite prep school in the country-Sanctuary Bay Academy-it seems almost too good to be true. But, after years of bouncing from foster home to foster home, escaping to its tranquil setting, nestled deep in Swans Island, couldn't sound more appealing. Swiftly thrown into a world of privilege and secrets, Sarah quickly realizes finding herself noticed by class charmer, Nate, as well as her roommate's dangerously attentive boyfriend, Ethan, are the least of her worries. When her roommate suddenly goes missing, she finds herself in a race against time, not only to find her, but to save herself and discover the dark truth behind Sanctuary Bay's glossy reputation.
In this genre-bending YA thriller, Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz, Sarah's new school may seem like an idyllic temple of learning, but as she unearths years of terrifying history and manipulation, she discovers this "school" is something much more sinister.
Sarah Merson spent her childhood in foster care after her parents were murdered when she was three. Suddenly, she receives a mysterious full scholarship to Sanctuary Bay Academy, a ritzy prep school on an island off the coast of Maine. The school attracts the children of the world's wealthy and powerful, even though no student is allowed to leave the island until graduation. Inevitably, the reasons for this turn out to be sinister, as well as related to the decrepit ruins of an asylum on one end of the island and a set of WWII POW cells dug into the school's bedrock. Burns and Metz, who have collaborated on Crave and other titles, build a suspenseful and satisfying narrative full of subtly creepy details, which derails near the end due to an implausible explanation, complete with a villain-explains-all monologue. Still, the majority of the story is well-written, somewhat campy fun, teetering between a psychological study of teenage peer pressure and an over-the-top horror flick. Ages 14 up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
New Young Adult Novel!
Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz is a young-adult suspense/thriller novel. Sarah Merson witnessed the death of her parents as a child. Sarah has been in a variety of foster homes since their death. Then she gets the opportunity of a lifetime. A full scholarship to the elite Sanctuary Bay Academy. Sarah did not apply for the scholarship (nor did anyone else she knows), but it is a great opportunity for her. The school is on an island and has a total immersion policy. Once you arrive at the school, you do not leave the school until graduation. No phone calls, no letters, no emails out. You can receive care packages from your family every three months (a little odd). Sarah is sixteen and will be entering the school as a junior. Sarah notices unusual activity going on at night and decides to explore (she will wish she had stayed in bed). Sarah becomes a part of a group that will change everything. There are some strange activities going on at this school and Sarah sets out to get answers. She knew this school was too good to be true!
Sanctuary Bay starts out slowly and it is confusing. I got tired of Sarah’s attitude quickly. She is judgmental and has a big chip on her shoulder (about rich and privileged people). The book does get better though (you have to keep reading). The way it started out you would think it was going to be a paranormal novel (I think it would have been better if it had been). This book took a direction that I did not suspect (but I liked it). I give Sanctuary Bay 4 out of 5 stars. The book does have some of the normal teenage angst and romance, but I skimmed through those sections (I used by speed reading skills).
I received a complimentary copy of Sanctuary Bay from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.