I received this book for free from NetGalley, ABRAMS Kids in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
TITLE: Useless Bay
AUTHOR: M.J. Beaufrand
Publisher: Amulet Books
PUBLICATION DATE: October 18th 2016
Source: NetGalley, ABRAMS Kids
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A gritty, psychological thriller about a mythic set of sixteen-year-old quintuplets searching for a young boy.
On Whidbey Island, the Gray quintuplets are the stuff of legend. Pixie and her brothers have always been bigger and blonder than their neighbors, as if they were birthed from the island itself. Together, they serve as an unofficial search-and-rescue team for the island, saving tourists and locals alike from the forces of wind and sea. But, when a young boy goes missing, the mysteries start to pile up. While searching for him, they find his mother’s dead body instead—and realize that something sinister is in their midst. Edgar-nominated author M. J. Beaufrand has crafted another atmospheric thriller with a touch of magical realism that fans of mystery and true crime will devour.
Useless Bay is a story about the Gray quintuplets, Pixie in particular, and their search for a young boy, Henry’s brother. The story includes dogs, Russians, death, and family, among many other things.
I really enjoyed reading Useless Bay as a whole. It is the kind of story that keeps you engaged and at the edge of your seat through the entire novel. It really is a thriller with lots of mystery and action. It was interesting and fast paced that I didn’t even have time to guess what would happen next.
Useless Bay is definitely more of a plot driven novel than a character driven one. Which is a good thing, given how both of the two characters, Pixie or Henry, are kind of flat and experience very little development throughout the whole book. They are likable enough, their romance was cute, and they weren’t particularly hard to connect to but at the same time, they weren’t characters that could evoke a lot of emotion out of me while reading. I honestly cared more about the plot than what happened to them.
That being said, I did like their relationships with the other characters, especially Pixie’s relationship to her brothers. The family aspect of Useless Bay was really nice to read about.
The mystery itself was nicely written. The details were scattered throughout the novel and seamlessly woven into the story. Another thing that that was pleasantly knitted into the story was a supernatural/mythological element.
But as much as I enjoyed the mythology (or was it supernatural?) element, it confused me for a good portion of a book. It was like If I Stay where I couldn’t decide what genre the book belonged in. Was the element happening in real life or did it only exist in a character’s head? I only got an answer in the last couple chapters, which were a bit rushed, in my opinion.
Useless Bay is a fast paced, action packed, thriller with a nice focus on family. It was refreshing to read, but the characters were a bit flat and the mythology/supernatural element, while exciting to read, was a bit confusing.