Review: Sanctuary Bay | A YA Thriller That's Not So Thrilling

Thursday, January 14, 2016
Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz
Publisher: St Martin's Griffin
Release date: 19th Jan. 2016
*Thanks to St. Martins for the eARC!*
Usually, I wouldn't have picked up a book of this genre since mysteries and thriller are outside of my comfort zone. But after totally adoring These Shallow Graves, I wanted to give the genre a chance. I was so excited for this - the blurb sounded perfectly creepy and mysterious and intriguing, and the cover is pretty nice, too. But ALAS! I am disappointed. (I love saying "alas!". There's something to fabulously old-fashioned about it.) Let's take a look at why that is so, shall we?


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. 


#1. The "thrillingness" of it? (Idk, don't judge, I couldn't find a better word.) The "mystery" was okay, but throughout the whole book, I wasn't really intrigued? I wasn't at all thrilled or excited or scared, and I only like books that make me FEEL things. With this book? Zip. Zilch. Nada. Half the time, I couldn't bring myself to care about the characters. 

#2. Oh, and the characters. 

I didn't like the main protagonist Sarah. She had very poor judgement for someone who was so incredibly judgmental about people they just met. She really does make terrible decisions, and I just couldn't bring myself to like her.

And don't even get me started on Ethan. He's a sarcastic jerk. Yes, he may have a "tragic" and mysterious past, but it doesn't give him the right to be such a jerk. Not that Sarah was a wonderful person, either. I dislike them both so much that I might even say they deserve each other.

Nate. He was probably the only person I slightly liked, and *SPOILER* HE'S the one that has to lead a demonic cult and also die.*SPOILER* (Obviously, I have the worst judgement.)

#3. Romance. Nope, nope, noppity nope nope, NOPE. The love triangle was PAAINFUL. Sarah was going this way and that, and given that the love interests are not suitable AT ALL (because of the reasons mentioned above), I HATED the romance. The love triangle was the most UTTERLY USELESS love triangle I ever did see. USELESS. The only thing that could've possibly been of greater use is a balloon in a pin factory. 

I don't hate love triangles. I do, in fact, love them if they're done well. But there comes a time when one stumbles across a love triangle so pathetically useless in EVERY WAY (except to add some UNNECESSARY ANGST to the plot - which, in all honesty, wasn't all that great in the first place -), that one can't help but profess their utter dislike for it. (Wow, that was a really long sentence. I hope you understood most of it).

#4. The ending. NOT A FAN. Totally unnecessary cliffhanger, and nothing was really resolved? Just a HUGE bunch of loose ends with nothing to tie them together. Disappointing, really.

#5. Writing style. I felt so totally disconnected! I couldn't get involved with the characters, romance OR storyline. There was no mysteriousness to it, nothing that "thrilled" me. All in all, it felt very bland, and it's definitely not the most mind-blowing thriller that I've read.

are YOU a fan of YA mysteries/thrillers? don't you think that every book needs that "thrilling" sensation to be a true gem of the genre? isn't it sad when you're let down by a book of a genre you don't normally read?

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