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"Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth." —Sanctuary Bay

Sanctuary Bay

by Laura J. Burns, & Melinda Metz

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Sarah thought Sanctuary Bay was her ticket to a better life. She was wrong.

When Sarah receives a scholarship to an elite school, she thinks she’s finally found a place where she can fit in. No longer seen as a foster kid, Sarah is soon initiated into a secret society, the Wolfpack, where she no longer feels like an outsider, but part of the family. Her roommates, Izzy and Karina, who are also members of the Wolfpack, show Sarah that being one of them can lead to a life of luxury—after all, the students who attend Sanctuary Bay come from affluent families. They want Sarah to be one of them.

As the mission becomes more intense, Sarah must ask herself how far is she willing to go to remain part of the group?  When her roommate suddenly disappears, Sarah wonders if she is missing or murdered.  In a race to discover what happened to Karina, Sarah must decide who to trust. And in the end, she discovers that danger and deception hide around every turn.

Suspenseful and full of surprises, Sanctuary Bay’s graphic description brings the setting alive. The reader will be at the edge of their seat wondering how the strange events all come together. The story comes alive because it is told from Sarah’s point of view and the reader gets to experience Sarah’s wonder, fear, and confusion as the plot unfolds.

Set on an isolated island with no contact with the outside world, Sanctuary Bay leaves the reader wondering if this high-tech school could be real. Add into the equation that there is an abandoned WWII POW camp and an abandoned insane asylum, and the reader must work hard to believe some of the aspects of the story. The ending is even more far-fetched than the setting of the story.

The sexual content, language, and violence, which is described in detail, is not meant for the younger reader and many older readers may not be ready for the graphic images in the story.

Sexual Content

  • Sarah was in foster care. She liked her current foster home because “no one tried to slide into bed with her. There’d been no hitting or screaming.” Later, Sarah thinks about when “a foster dad came after her a couple of times when she was seven and another place a foster kid had tried some stuff when she was eleven.” However, nothing else is said about the events.
  • In the cafeteria, Karina’s boyfriend kisses her. “Not just a quick hello. A kiss. It went on so long a couple of guys at the nearby table started to hoot encouragement.”
  • The students get a video sent to them, “At first Sarah thought somebody had managed to send a porn clip to everyone, but then she realized that the woman she was looking at was a teacher she’d seen in the halls. And the other woman getting down and dirty with her was Maya. . . One student comments, “What is it about a freckled ass? It makes me want to play connect-the-dots with my tongue.”
  • As part of a mission, Sarah must kiss Karina’s boyfriend. “Sarah slid her hands up his back and knotted her hands in his hair—so thick and silky—then pulled his head down to meet hers. . . his tongue was already brushing against the seam of her lips, urging her mouth open, then his tongue was inside, tangling with hers, his hands on her waist, pulling her body flush against his.”
  • At a party for the secret society, the students play a game. “Guys grab the end of a strip with a knot in it and tie it around your wrist. Girls do the same, except use the end with no knot. When you find out who’s tied to you—well, you take it from there. . . Girls who want girls, use the green, either end. Guys who want guys, same with the red. Experimentation, as always, is welcome.” Sarah in paired up with Nate. “Sarah knelt behind him, spreading her legs so that she held his body between them. His neck . . . she still hadn’t finished exploring it. She lowered her mouth and ran her tongue across the edge of his hairline, loving the faint taste of his sweat . . . Sarah gave him a little nip, enjoying the give of his flesh under her teeth.” The make-out scene is described in detail in three paragraphs.
  • Karina’s boyfriend strides up to Sarah and, “He didn’t say a word when he reached her. He just grabbed her butt and jerked her tight against him, then bent his head and kissed her.”
  • Sarah and Nate kiss. “He deepened the kiss, his tongue exploring her mouth slowly. It was nothing like the hard, demanding kiss Ethan had given her that night after the movie. . . She let her tongue flick against his, pulling him closer against her.”


  • Sarah’s parents are killed when she is young. “Mommy on her knees facing the hotel room wall. The finger pulled the trigger of the gun . . . Mommy collapsing on the floor. Red spilling out.”
  • When Sarah spies on her roommates, she sees a group of students burying someone alive. “As they moved across the clearing past Sarah’s hiding spot, she heard a scratching, scrabbling sound, followed by a muted scream. . . Sarah’s eyes darted back to Izzy, Karina, and Nate. They just stood there. No horror on their faces. No cry of protest.” Later Sarah finds out the person that was in the coffin is fine; burying him alive was just a prank.
  • When Sarah is found spying on her roommates, she is gagged, tied up, and thrown into an old underground Nazi prison cell.
  • Sarah is taken into a strange meeting room, where, “One of the maroon-robbed followers approached and held a clay bowl at the base of Sarah’s throat. . . Even when the blade pierced her flesh, and a trickle of her blood ran down her neck and into the bowl, she still didn’t die.” The group then asks Sarah to join a secret society.
  • Izzy tells about a time when she was date-raped. “It was going too fast for me. But he wouldn’t stop . . . I just wanted him to get off of me.” He fell and hit his head on the side of a coffee table. “There was blood everywhere and I couldn’t stop it. It happened so fast. Suddenly he was . . . dead. He was still warm and everything, but his eyes were empty. He was gone.”
  • As punishment for breaking the rules of the secret society, Grayson is branded. “. . . Revealing Grayson Chandler tied down on a filthy mattress. Naked. Her flesh covered with goosebumps, nipples erect. Eyes wide with terror. . . Sarah’s stomach gave a slow, sickening roll as she saw that the rough rope had rubbed away the skin on Grayson’s wrist and ankles, leaving the flesh raw and bleeding. . . hearing the sizzle, from smelling the smoke and the frying-meat scent of Grayson’s burning flesh.”
  • In order to bring the Wolfpack closer together, the group sacrifices one of their own. “Using a strip of black leather, they tied her wrist to an iron ring that had been screwed into the thick, dark trunk, high over her head.” Nate offers a gun to the group, asking who will pull the trigger. Karina’s roommate, “Izzy snatched the pistol. She took a step away from the group, turned toward Karina, raised the gun, and fired. . . Sara stared down into Izzy’s eyes. They were expressionless and empty.”
  • Sarah and Ethan find Izzy strapped down to a hospital bed with a port connected to the back of her head.  When she is released, Izzzy attacks a guard and bites Ethan in an attempt to get away.
  • Nate begins talking to himself. “He pushed his hand into his short dark hair and managed to grab a hunk of it. ‘Stop!’ he yanked his hand away, hair and skin and blood coming with it.” He then steps off a cliff. “Far below, on the jagged black rocks in the water, lay Nate. Blood poured from his head. His body was shattered, limbs protruding from the robe at horrifying angles. He was dead.”
  • As Sarah and Ethan are trying to discover what happened to their friends, they sneak into a secret facility. When a nurse sees them, “Sarah punched her in the face. When the woman hit the floor, Ethan jumped on top of her, covering her mouth with his hand.” They gag the woman, tie her up, and put her outside where someone will find her later.
  • A fire breaks out and Nate and Sarah begin taking the restraints off of the people. “Izzy had gotten free of her restraints, and she was beating a nurse with an IV pole. The guy was on the floor already, and his head was bloody.”
  • A man attacks Nate and Sarah. Izzy soon appears. “Izzy snarled, tearing at him with one hand, stabbing him with the other . . . the scalpel plunged into him again and again, and Sarah stumbled away, Ethan by her side, as blood spurted into the air.”

Drugs and Alcohol

  • When Sarah meets her new roommates, she is offered a cocktail. Sarah turns down the cocktail because she, “didn’t plan on meeting the dean . . . drunk off her ass.”
  • At the school one of the teachers “does impart some insane weed” and there are parties where students drink and make out.
  • During the secret societies events, the members drink “blutgrog” which she is told has, “ground bone from the POW prisoners, and their dried blood.” Sarah’s blood is also added when she is joining the group. The drink magnifies every sensation and makes people lose their inhibitions.


  • When Sarah meets a girl, the girl complains about missing shopping. Sara thinks, “That’s what we call a first-world problem, bitch.”
  • When Sarah sees her new school, she says, “No fucking way.”
  • After seeing the dean, Sarah’s roommate asks, “What kind of shoes was Farrell wearing? She’s such a shoe whore.”
  • Karina is told that her, “boyfriend is kind of an ass. . . Nice butt though.” Later, Sarah wonders, “Why is Karina with this asshole?”
  • When talking about Karina’s boyfriend, her roommate says, “And you’re like one of those battered women who stay with their abusers . . . because you loooove them. All heart and no brain.” Karina gasped and says, “Fuck you, Izzy.”
  • Sarah is watching Karina’s boyfriend and thinks, “goddamn those perfect lips of his.”
  • Sarah thinks about an upcoming Wolfpack ceremony. “Three days before I’m supposed to help kill someone, and I’m drinking a beer at a bonfire. How fucked up is that?”
  • The teens in the story use profanity habitually. The profanity includes: hell, pissed, crap, badass, ass, shit, fuck, and bullshit.


  • Sarah has memory waves where she is back in the memory, but she can remember everything, including taste and smells.

Spiritual Content

  • None
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"Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth." —Sanctuary Bay

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