Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns & Melinda Metz

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Griffin for providing this ARC.

Goodreads rating: 3.76

You can find the Goodreads summary here.

Well this was a wild ride from start to finish. I read the whole book in a couple of days, with the second half in one sitting because I. Just. Had. To. Know. What. The. Deal. Was.You don’t understand, it got SO intense at a point that I was flying through the pages. And that makes it an amazing book for me, because that’s what I’m looking for: total immersion in a book universe. And Sanctuary Bay delivered.

It tells the story of Sarah, an orphan girl offered a mysterious scholarship to the Sanctuary Bay Academy, a remote high school, situated on an island, that offers a totally immersive experience - the students never go home during the 4 years of high school, nor do they have any contact with the world outside the Academy, but which also boasts alumni in all fields, from world leaders, to top scientist and CEOs of major global corporations. Sarah’s parents were murdered when she was very young, and she remembers everything that happens, due to the fact that she has an eidetic memory and a condition that allows her to relive past memories very vividly and with a high amount of detail. She arrives to the Academy and notices that some strange things are going on. Pocking around, she’s thrust into the middle of a conspiracy bigger than she thought.

I’d go into more detail, but it’s very difficult to do that without giving away major plot points. What I can tell you is that it’s a very well constructed book, which will keep you hooked until the end. It’s a bit slow in the beginning, because it takes a bit of time for the writers to set up the events, but once it gets going, it gets going. It’s fast paced, entertaining, and it just kept me guessing all the way. And once I got to the end and found out, I was left satisfied. It made sense. It delivered. And this is something that was amazing, for me at least, because I’ve read books that had a lot at stake with the final plot twist/reveal, and I was left unsatisfied.

Sarah is a likable enough main character. There are instances where I wasn’t that content with her, but I think that she’s more relatable that way. As an orphan, going through heaps of foster homes, she’s very reluctant to trust, she’s had a tough upbringing and she gets very defensive about that, especially when she’s thrown into a community of kids who haven’t had to struggle for anything in their lives and who have led seemingly flawless lives. She’s always had no one else to rely upon but herself. But along the way, she makes friends and she’s happy for the first time in forever, at least until the darkness that lurks under the Academy starts creeping up to light. I loved the diversity of the characters - not just diverse personalities, but racial diversity as well (Sarah herself is biracial).

There were some things that irked me - the reveal was delivered in the style of “the villain telling the hero everything before pulling some stunt” and I was left wanting more in the end, but that’s something that will hopefully be explored in the coming books - from what I understand, this will be a trilogy (there’s definitely enough setup for at least another book). All in all, it was a fun, entertaining and fast paced read, that I definitely recommend to fans of YA mystery/suspense.


To everyone who got this far, thank you for reading and have a wonderful day! Also, feel free to share your thoughts, comment or tell me anything :)

Buy it from the Book Depository :) - publication date: January 19th 2016