Google+ Reading Teen: Sanctuary by Jennifer McKissack \\ Gothic Awesomeness

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Sanctuary by Jennifer McKissack \\ Gothic Awesomeness

 Review by Sara

by Jennifer McKissack
Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 and up
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press (September 29, 2015)
Language: English
Amazon | Goodreads

A haunting and luminous Gothic YA novel about reckoning with the ghosts of one's dark past.

After the untimely death of her aunt Laura, Cecilia Cross is forced to return to Sanctuary, a rambling, old French-Gothic mansion that crowns a remote island off the coast of Maine. Cecilia is both drawn to and repulsed by Sanctuary. The scent of the ocean intoxicates her, but she's also haunted by the ghosts of her past -- of her father who died at Sanctuary five years ago, and of her mother who was committed soon after. The memories leave Cecilia feeling shaken, desperate to run away and forget her terrible family history.

But then a mysterious guest arrives at Sanctuary: Eli Bauer, a professor sent to examine Sanctuary's library. Cecilia is intrigued by this strange young man who seems so interested in her -- even more interested in her than in the books he is meant to be studying. Who is he and what does he want? Can Cecilia possibly trust her growing feelings for him? And can he help her make peace with her haunted, tragic past?
I was not sure what to expect when I started reading Sanctuary by Jennifer McKissack. I was hoping for a good mix of a contemporary, mystery/thriller, and ghost story. That is exactly what I got. I ended up loving this story and everything about it.

The author did a great job of combining three stories: Cecilia’s return to Sanctuary and her struggle to make sense of her memories; the haunting story of her father, grandmother, and sister’s restless souls, and the truth of Cecilia’s family history; and the budding relationship with mysterious Eli Bauer. This all seems like a lot for one book but the stories were woven together beautifully into a mysterious and haunting ride. The way everything was described made me feel I was actually there at Sanctuary. It was easy to visualize the Island and the Gothic mansion.

Despite some sluggish pacing at the start, McKissack's tale drew me in with an alluring mystery. I felt the characters were well developed and I almost instantly became invested in their plights. The protagonist is strong, capable, and vibrant, with shades of moodiness, anger, and impulsivity. While I found the historical aspect of this story very interesting, younger readers might find it a bit dull. They may also find the ending a bit anti-climactic as well.

This story is a breath of fresh air in a sea of ghost stories and thrillers. This tale is a fantastic Gothic tale that hopefully will drive readers to want to read more stories like it. I loved this story and hope to read more like it soon.

1 comment:

  1. I hadn't really given this book much thought, I have no idea why. I think the cover just didn't grab me, which is a horrible reason. But you've made me want to pick it up! Thanks Sara!!


Leave us a comment. Commenting people are our favorites! And we like to give things to favorites :)