Title: Sanctuary Bay
Author(s): Laura J Burns and Melinda Metz
Genre: YA Thriller
Publication Date: January 19, 2016
My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.
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.
I don’t really know where to start with this book. I went into it thinking it was going to be one thing, but it ended up being something else entirely.
The first thing I want to address is our main character, Sarah. When you look at the cover, you think “YAY! POC protagonist!”, right? Not so fast. While Sarah is POC, she is the poster child for the “angry black girl” trope. I understand that her childhood had been pretty rough, and that it’s normal for her to have a bit of a chip on her shoulder, but Sarah is outright judgmental and even a bit hostile towards anyone who she perceives comes from wealth. I just didn’t find her that likable. On top of her personality, Sarah has this weird habit of identifying what race someone is as soon as she meets them. This just ended up coming across as the author trying to throw in as much diversity as possible, no matter how minor the character. I’m all for diversity in books, but not when it’s done as an afterthought or ruined by tropes.
The second thing I had an issue with was the pacing. This book *drags* for the first half. Once things started kicking off, I was decently interested in the story, but it was extremely hard for me to get through the first half, just because of how bored I was. I have a resolution not to DNF as many books this year as I did last year, so I made myself trudge through it. Though the last half was entertaining, it was just a bit convoluted for me, and I really couldn’t follow what was happening.
I’m a sucker for “boarding school” type stories, so I thought that I would love Sanctuary Bay. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I give it 2 out of 5 stars.