Author: Laura J. Burns, Melinda Metz
Synopsis: (Found on Goodreads)
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.
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars – The book was well written and fairly fast paced, however the conclusion seemed rushed and not fully fleshed out.
Cover: 2 Stars – I don’t think the cover represents the book very well. The girl depicted does not look anything like the main character did to me, though it’s possible the meaning behind the scene is lost on me.
Sanctuary Bay was a suspense filled, teen high school drama, only without very much drama. The pieces were there, lots of angsty teenagers all trying to fit in or define themselves in their own way, but much of the typical youthful struggle felt somewhat glossed over to make room for flashbacks, foreshadowing, or saying the word bromcyan over and over (you’ll understand by the time you’re halfway finished). Not to say that the book wasn’t enjoyable, I found it an interesting and fast read, however the emphasis could have been shifted somewhat to make it more entertaining.
The main character, Sarah Merson has a difficult past that makes fitting in at Sanctuary Bay difficult. Her exceptional memory makes her an ideal student and classmate, but being unable to forget anything, recalling every moment of every day, can be a heavy burden. She finds friends in her room mates, Izzy and Karina, who are about as opposite as two girls can get. They pick at each other constantly, but still manage to stay friends. Soon, Sarah finds herself attracting the interest of Nate, a model student and popular boy around campus, but with a few dark secrets of his own. Ethan, Karina’s boyfriend, is the typical brooding teenage boy with a rough past. Most of the exploits in and around Sanctuary Bay, the ‘Perfect School’ revolve around these 5.
Some of the most interesting parts of the story are discovered when the climax of the book approaches. Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to happen until very close to the end, where it felt as though all of the loose ends of the story had to be wrapped up in 30 pages or less. There was a lot of very interesting build up towards this abrupt conclusion, but I was left feeling somewhat unfulfilled. Nevertheless, Sanctuary Bay is worth reading and I would not be surprised if there was a sequel in the works for some time down the line. I would recommend this book, though I will probably not be back for a second read.