Format: E-ARC | 320 pages
Release Date: January 19, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: Young Adult | Mystery |Thriller
In this genre-bending YA thriller, will Sarah Merson's shiny new prep school change her life forever or bring it to a dark and sinister end?
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.
SANCTUARY BAY, by author's Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz, is a story that features 16-year old Sarah Merson as its main protagonist. As a young girl, Sarah witnessed the murder of her parents by unknown individuals and ended up being bounced from one foster home to the next. Then, when she finally gets to a place where she can actually feel comfortable, she gets a shocking and unexpected invitation to the the most elite prep school in the country; Sanctuary Bay Academy. For Sarah, who has an eidetic memory (the ability to recall images, sounds or objects in a memory with high precision), Sanctuary Bay is a fresh start on the road to getting the job she wants, and the future she deserves.
One should probably be warned about Sarah as a character and this is why. She carries a heavy load on her shoulders. Sarah faced prejudices at a level that most people can't comprehend or understand. She wasn't white enough for some families, and not black enough for others. She faced the ugliness of society and until this invitation to attend an elite prep school, her future wasn't all that hopeful or set in stone. So, yes, she does have a chip on her shoulder, especially towards those who come from rich families. She truly believes that the majority of students at the school have no clue what it is to suffer and go through life living from foster home to foster home, and getting your clothes from Goodwill.
But, Sarah grows by leaps and bounds once she opens up her heart, and shuts out her own prejudices towards the rich kids. Her roommates Izzy and Karina open the door to further friendships, including an invitation to a secret society where she is welcomed with open arms. Nate, the leader of the secret society, is definitely is a person of interest for Sarah, while Ethan Steere becomes her partner in crime after his girlfriend Karina disappears. Ethan, not unlike Sarah, also has a mountain of secrecy that slowly becomes unlocked as the story unravels. As he and Sarah try to understand how Sanctuary Bay actually operates, it becomes apparent that the school is surrounded by dark secrets and unpleasantries.
SANCTUARY BAY is a bit of a mystery, messed with a whole lot of suspense, and leaves readers with a bunch of unanswered questions that hopefully will be taken care of if and when there is a sequel to this story. I will say this, if you have read books from Night School by CJ Daugherty, then you will enjoy this. The idea of a secret societies at a school, or the underlying menace that lies right under the surface, isn't a new idea, but it sure is attention getting. You have to wonder who is behind the school, and what they are actually up to. Here's hoping the authors post the name and release of the sequel to this story soon!
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