Sanctuary Bay Review and Guest Post from Laura Burns

Title: Sanctuary Bay

Authors: Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz

Series: Unnamed series (I think)

Publication: January 19th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin

Pages: 320

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review


Summary from Goodreads:

In this genre-bending YA thriller, 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.

In this genre-bending YA thriller, Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz, Sarah’s new school may seem like an idyllic temple of learning, but as she unearths years of terrifying history and manipulation, she discovers this “school” is something much more sinister.


My Thoughts:

After this slightly incoherent and rambly review, please stay tuned for a special guest post by the wonderful author Laura Burns to find out what her dream cast for a Sanctuary Bay movie or television show would be.


Alrighty then, well, that was one hell of a whirlwind that I enjoyed immensely. Sanctuary Bay is a unique sort of read where you don’t know what is going to happen until it actually happens and catches you completely by surprise. This book had none of the usual tropes that tend to piss me off in Young Adult thrillers and mysteries – instead, it was brilliantly crafted. Sanctuary Bay was completely different than what I expected it to be, and because of that it became a serious thrill ride.

Sanctuary Bay is the story of foster child, Sarah Merson – who witnessed the murder of her parents at a very young age. Talk about traumatizing. She is thrown from house to house as most foster children are, but now – she has received a pretty sketchy invitation to a mysterious elite prep-school called Sanctuary Bay Academy. All I can say without spoiling the amazingness – which isn’t much – is that once she goes to Sanctuary Bay everything hits the fan. The less you know about this, sort of like I did, the more it will make you fall in love.

The characters of this book… ugh… they are amazing and complex. They are multi-dimensional and they develop and grow over the course of this book – it was beautiful. I think I love Sarah so much because of the fact that she wasn’t perfect and some of the choices she made, things she did, etc. pissed me off to no end. But, it was that same anger I had towards her for certain things she did that proved she was a real and very fleshed out character. I do have to say, the rest of the characters were just as refreshing – and diverse! Holy crap were they diverse, my precious babies.

Sanctuary Bay is a wonderful thriller with a heart pounding plot and believable characters. If you enjoy any type of thriller or mystery, I highly recommend this for a quick read. Filled with twists and turns, an open ending, and secrets – this book will keep you on your toes.


What would your dream cast be like if Sanctuary Bay was ever turned into a movie or television show and why?

Ooh! This one is fun!

Whenever we get to the end of an outline—when all our plot points are plotted and our twists are twisty—we get ready to write. For us, that means deciding who will write the first half and who will write the second half. We don’t take turns; we write at the same time. (Which is why it’s so important that we have a detailed outline, so the person writing the second half knows exactly what’s already happened.) Once we’ve split up the work, there’s only one more thing we need to decide before we start writing: what do the characters sound like? Even though two different people are writing them, the characters need to sound like themselves throughout.

The way we do it is this: we decide together who would play this character in a movie or a TV show, and then we both write as if we’re writing for that person. It works pretty well!

So here is our cast for Sanctuary Bay:

Sarah: Zendaya Coleman. Sarah’s complex, and Zendaya seems to have a mix of smart, funny, tough, and sensitive. She made us think of our girl.

Nate: Tyler Posey. He can give a smile like the one Sarah calls “The Grin.”

Ethan: Ansel Elgort. Ethan’s a sexy bad boy who’ll come through for you in the end. We think Ansel could do all that and then some.

Izzy: Nicola Peltz. We think she has Izzy’s looks—and could bring the cool Izzy attitude.

Karina: Alia Bhatt. We’d love to see this acclaimed Bollywood star’s take on Karina.

Dr. Diaz: Adam Rodriguez. Because we love Adam and Dr. Diaz is a juicy part.




Barnes & Noble


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