Title: Useless Bay
Author: M.J. Beaufrand
Published: October 18th 2016
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Length: 240 pages
Source: Paperback from the Publisher
Book Blurb (via Goodreads):
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.
Every so often, I come across a book that just sounds so intriguing, I feel like I need to read it right now. Useless Bay is one of those books. With a mystery wrapped around the Gray family – quintuplets built like giants and local legends – I was hooked from the first page.
The Grays are local legends on Useless Bay. The quintuplets are tall, sturdy, and the best search and rescue team anyone’s seen. But when the youngest son of their rich weekend neighbour goes missing, the Grays are suspects who fight to clear their name while searching for the missing boy. But when a body is discovered in the water, things start to go from bad to worse over the course of two days that change things for everyone.
Pixie is the only girl in the Gray clan. She’s known as ‘The Girl’ and trying her hardest to change that by using their dog, Patience, to become the best search and rescue team there is. (I’ll warn you at this point that if, like me, you’re not a fan of reading about animals that get hurt, you might want to re-consider this book – having said that, while it upset me, I still enjoyed the rest of the book as a whole). Pixie has known Henry and his family for six years when his little brother, Grant, goes missing. What follows is two days on intense searching and boy do secrets get uncovered.
There were some supernatural elements to this novel that I wasn’t expecting. Pixie has a brush with death and starts seeing ghosts as the search for Grant continues. While she struggles not to show how freaked out she is by what’s going on in her mind, Henry’s family is struck by another tragedy and the fallout leads to even more trouble.
There was an air of unbelievability to it all: quintuplets that seemed linked together supernaturally, taller and stronger than anyone else on the island; ghosts leading the way to clues; mysterious figures in the other world. While it was rooted in the here and now, there were those extra touches that took it to another level.
As the mystery of Grant’s disappearance turns into two separate mysteries and things start to reach boiling point, I couldn’t put the book down. The ingenious way that everything was linked from Pixie’s past to the present kept me captivated while reading.
While slow to pick up the pace, Useless Bay is an incredible mystery with so many layers to keep something new revealed on every page.