I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Sanctuary Bay is a YA novel by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz. I love boarding school stories, so I was excited about the opportunity to read Sanctuary Bay.
Sarah Merson is a teen in the foster care system in Ohio, but she receives a scholarship to the prestigious Sanctuary Bay Academy. She goes from a nomadic life of rotating foster homes to a lush boarding school on an island of the coast of Maine. It seems like a dream come true, even if she never applied for the scholarship in the first place.
Sanctuary Bay believes in full immersion. There are no summer breaks or journeys home. Once students arrive at Sanctuary Bay, they must stay there until graduation. This doesn’t seem like a particularly bad arrangement; the school’s facilities are unparalleled, and they have their own cell phone system and intranet. Sarah enjoys meeting her gorgeous and brilliant peers, but everything is not as it seems. Sanctuary Bay is hiding some big secrets, and Sarah is about to find out what is lurking behind the academy’s pleasant façade.
This was a fun book to read. It’s definitely not your typical school story; there are elements of a psychological thriller and science fiction at play here. Sarah is a plucky heroine; she teeters between the happiness she feels at finally belonging to a group, and the uncanny feeling that something is awry. I can’t say too much more without giving away the plot, but I was pleased with the way the story unfolded. There were several unexpected twists, but there were also moments that were a little too predictable.
I would recommend Sanctuary Bay. I was not aware that this was part of a planned series when I began reading, but now I am hooked. I can’t wait to find out what happens next to Sarah!