Last week it rained, and rained. And then, it rained some more. There was flash flooding. And then there were tornadoes. Since I couldn’t get outside to enjoy Spring, I was glad to be diverted by a riveting novel. Once I started reading Sanctuary Bay, I couldn’t put it down. So I settled down in a comfy chair with a cup of tea and kept reading while the rain kept falling.
Sarah Merson is a midwestern teenager whose parents died under mysterious circumstances when she was very young. Since then, she has been raised by a series of foster families. She learned to keep her head down and fly under the radar to hopefully survive the foster system. Gifted with a photographic memory, she makes excellent grades, and her junior year she suddenly receives a full scholarship to attend an exclusive boarding school located on an island off the coast of Maine.
Even before she steps foot on Sanctuary Bay, Sarah notices things are a little “off”. She cannot find any mention of Sanctuary Bay on the internet, and the local ferry isn’t allowed to take her all the way to the island. Instead, they drop her off at a wind turbine farm,where a boat from Sanctuary Bay picks her up. She brushes these concerns aside when she meets her new roommates and friends at Sanctuary Bay. For the first time, Sarah feels accepted by the cool kids, and the place is just so nice and state of the art. But as the oddities mount, Sarah must confront her feelings that things are not all right at Sanctuary Bay.
I don’t want to say much more, because I don’t want to give away any spoilers. But, I will say that I couldn’t put this book down. I kept reading until I got to the very end. I *thought* I knew where things were going, but I was wrong. I am delighted when that happens. It’s no fun when I figure things out only one-third or halfway through a book.
There are a couple reasons why I didn’t give this book a straight-up A+. For one, there were a few mysterious things that happened and Sarah would notice them, but then she would never ask anyone about them. She just dropped it. I believe most people would have asked questions. However, I do understand rationalizing away suspicious happenings, especially as a teenager. She was desperate to find acceptance and belonging. We are all often willing to overlook warning signs for that. The second issue I had was with the dialogue. I know I am a 40 something mom, but some of the dialogue seemed forced and contrived. I am not entirely sure teens talk that way.
The ending left things open for a possible sequel. If that is the case, I will definitely read it. I enjoyed this book immensely. If you are attracted to mysteries and YA books, I believe you will enjoy it too.
Book: Sanctuary Bay
Author: Laura Burns, Melinda Metz
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Date Published: January 19, 2016
Source: Net Galley ARC