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Useless Bay

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  240 ratings  ·  65 reviews
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 is
Published October 18th 2016 by Abrams Books
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Average rating 3.53  · 
Rating details
 ·  240 ratings  ·  65 reviews

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Natalie Kate
Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Useless Bay was the type of book I couldn't put down. In fact, I almost completed the book in a matter of hours (but sleep got in the way, I did start it at midnight). And it was also the first thing I picked up when I woke up in the morning. It's the type of book that you don't expect to grip you in the magical way that it does, and I'm so happy I requested this on NetGalley because I absolutely adore it.

I adore everything from the characters - a set of quintruplets that will make you feel awf
Sep 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
A charming little mystery with a beautiful backdrop and an intriguing set of quintuplets. Almost felt southern gothic, but set in the Pacific Northwest, instead.

I was surprised to see this described as a 'gritty, psychological thriller' here on the goodreads page. This is neither gritty, psychological, nor thrilling. It's the type of mystery you would have read as a child on summer break, grabbing a book and climbing up a tree to read all afternoon in its branches. The narrator's friendly tone,
Kylie Sparks
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This book was odd and for me it just didn't work. The first thing that threw me off is that the artwork and title lead me to think it was going to be a mystery for middle school students. It's definitely for older readers. Although I don't know if it will appeal to teens. This is more like an extra long ghost story. I think it would have worked a lot better in that format, as part of a collection of chilling tales. There's not deep enough characterization or enough detail for this to be a novel. ...more
Nemo (The Moonlight Library)
This review was originally posted on The Moonlight Library

I was drawn to Useless Bay because I really liked the idea of a group of almost super-human quintuplets that acted as the local search and rescue on their small, isolated island.

What I found was most disappointing.

To start with, the quintuplets (all named after Rat Pack members, plus Marilyn ‘Pixie’, because their single mother is weird) were absolutely forced into this search and rescue by their obsessed mother, who yelled at them until
Bruce Gargoyle
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley for review.

Ten Second Synopsis:
Henry and the Quints have known each other ever since Henry's famous, rich father moved to Useless Bay to set up house (or McMansion, as the case may be). When Henry's little brother Grant goes missing, Henry knows that the best people to find him will be Pixie and her brothers.

Although the cover of this edition puts me in mind of a middle grade targeted story, this is definitely one for the young adul
Terry Maguire
A captivating mystery told in chapters alternating between the perspectives of Pixie, part of a set of 16-yr-old quintuplets, and Henry, son of a millionaire who lives on Whidbey Island in Washington state. The novel weaves in magical realist elements that generally work with the narrative. A fresh, original mystery with haunting descriptions of Whidbey Island.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Okayish, Not really mu cup of tea 2.5* maybe 2.75 if i'm generous. ...more
Lisa Nocita
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Meh. Magical realism feels a little out of place or not well enough developed to be anything other than a curiosity and there's unnecessary language that doesn't advance the story. Characters seemed flat. Mystery is not that mysterious and seemed superfluous. None of the characters seem to have any real emotions. ...more
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Pixie lives on a small isolated bay with her four brothers who were born only minutes before her. As the youngest member of the Grey Quints, and the only girl, she is used to keeping up with her brothers in every way possible. Whether that is in competing to see who can do the most dangerous stunt to helping people who find themselves injured or lost among the trees and brush that line the area. The five Grey children are said to be an almost mystical group of children. Not only are they all tal ...more
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was previously reviewed at http://missnicolethelibrarian.blogspo...



I wanted to like this book, but the pitched summary above isn't really what you're getting. It's definitely not a psychological thriller. It's actually not even that thrilling, and the killer is painfully obvious. I want Pacific Northwest Gothic to totally be a thing, but this book just didn't do that for me.

In fact, I'm still trying to make heads and tails of it. It's definitely plot driven and
The Library Lady
"A touch of magical realism," says the jacket flap.
More like touches of the supernatural added to boost a less than believable plot. To add insult to injury, I figured out the villain of the piece by halfway through the book, though I didn't guess at several silly twists, probably because they too were less than believable. There was a good story in here--I liked Pixie and her 4 brothers, quints named after members of the Rat Pack. But their story was drowned (sorry) in a silly mystery plot.
On Whidbey Island, the Gray quintuplets are unusual in many ways. They have no father, they're all over six feet tall, and over the years they've developed a penchant for search and rescue--especially the only girl, Pix, with her badly-trained bloodhound Patience. The Shepherds come from a different world--the world of the uber-wealthy. Their compound sits right on Useless Bay, with the Grays' house on the bluff above. Despite the disparities, the Shepherds have come to trust the Grays, and Henr ...more

There are a few scenes of child abuse in the second half of the book, so be aware of that when reading. Character death in the spoiler -> (view spoiler)

This book tried too hard to be too many things. Was it a murder mystery? Was it urban fantasy? Was it a coming of age story? Few books can pull off being multiple genres, and this was not one of them. It was a quick read and exciting enough, but ultimately it was disappointing. Obvious hints w
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 18, 2017 rated it liked it
This book started out really fast paced, and the author writes in a fun conversational-type style.

He said he wanted to order a dog because he had the wacky idea that he wanted to be involved in search-and-rescue . . . kind of a romantic, our Sammy. Not a big thinker-througher.

Sure the book has a few gimmicks: quintuplet boys named after the original Rat Pack, with a younger sister named Marilyn Monroe (nicknamed Pixie), the single mom with all these 5 kids and no father to speak of (view spoiler
Dec 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook, 2018
2.75 stars Useless Bay is another recent random library pick. To be honest, I'm not sure what level of reader this is supposed to be marketed to. On one hand, it read like a middle grade book and on the other it had elements that would really only be suitable for older YA readers. The story involves quintuplets who are famous for being good at search and rescue on their little island The four brothers and one sister are rumored to have been born of the land. They are tasked with finding one of t ...more
Kain M.
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
M.J. Beaufrand's "Useless Bay" is a mystery book about a girl nick named Pixie, a boy name Henry, and both their families. Pixie is a tough, tall girl who is a great search and rescue volunteer with her dog ,Patience. She belongs to the Gray Family, who are super tall and excellent members of the community. Henry is a boy who gets enraged easily and is in love with Pixie. Henry is part of the Shepard Family who are super rich, which attracts them a lot of attention. They both live by Useless Ba ...more
Darcy Roar
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen
Mysteries generally aren't my thing, but this one really pulled me in & kept me there for the wild & short, ride. This book has some romance & some search & rescue stuff, but at it's core it's a solid murder mystery with a bit of paranormal ghost-yness mixed in to keep it spicy. While I found a few points to be a bit silly (view spoiler) ...more
Lauren Taylor
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: characters
I knew right away that I was going to enjoy this book regardless of where the story ended up. The characters, the setting, the writing--all had a certain magic to it that I love love love as a reader. However, I do feel as though this book leaned into so many different directions and never really pursued one fully. It didn't fully commit to the magical realism or to the mystery and suspense. If it had, I can't help feeling as though I would have loved it so much more. All in all, it was a fun qu ...more
Wow. I just could not get into this book. I'm not even going to rate it because I'm wondering if the problem was with me, but just in case it wasn't, I need to throw my experience into the pot. Something about this just did not work for me. I rarely have trouble focusing on a book even if I'm not enjoying it, but for whatever reason, I just could not hold this one in long enough to get passed the first few chapters.

I really didn't like the main character, though? So that may have a lot to do wit
Mark Richards
Jan 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Well this one took me by surprise. The cover does not match the story... The bodies start to stack up in this murder mystery set on Whidbey Island. The narrative switches between two characters and that was confusing at first, but smoothed out as I went along. Plenty of action happening as the quintuplets race against time to find a missing boy. Strangulation, shooting, and drowning all work for and against them. A compelling read for seventh grade and above.
Mar 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Fast read that I picked up because it's set on Whidbey Island. There were elements of magical realism/mythology, which were interesting but I didn't have a strong sense of why they were important. The main plot was a mystery. I'm not sure if it was the short timeframe of action, but I didn't feel like I got to know the main characters very well. It felt like this was a modern retelling of a myth, but not being familiar with the original myth a lot went over my head. ...more
K.W. Colyard
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews

Claire Hutchet Bishop's The Five Chinese Brothers moves to the Pacific Northwest in this YA mystery from M.J. Beaufrand. Useless Bay introduces readers to the Gray quints --- four brothers and sister Pixie --- and the Shepherds: an ultra-wealthy family who vacation near the Grays' home on Whidbey Island. When two members of the Shepherd clan go missing, the Grays are the first people suspected, and the supersized, superpowered teens must rush to solve the mystery and save themselves and their fr

Roberto Olvera
Sep 25, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Think Pacific Northwest gothic. The Gray quintuplets are the stuff of legend, larger than life, stronger and more fearless than mere mortals. Heroes, all. Secrets, lies, murder and just a hint of supernatural, this is a YA mystery that adults will enjoy too. This has been lost in my TBR pile for quite sometime and I am so glad I found it!
Ashley B.
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-star-books
I thought the plot was good, but there were parts in the book that made absolutely no sense to me at all. I think the book would have made an awesome mystery without all the weird fantasy type elements added in.
May 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
I thought this was a MG from the length and the cover art, which looks like it might have changed now. It was a good YA, bit too gritty for me. Also I kept getting confused as to who was narrating because the two narrators had very similar voices. If you like gritty YA you may enjoy this.
Suzette Kunz
Things I liked--pretty good mystery, interesting characters, excellent sense of place. Things I didn't like--weird paranormal stuff that didn't quite jive with the rest of the book, melodramatic villain. ...more
I didn't love the paranormal aspect of this book. I feel like it was just thrown in there, but it wasn't really necessary.
This would have been a good series.. each sibling having a book from his/ her perspective.
Sarah Stonerock
Feb 08, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was quite good although a bit hard to follow at times. The mystery was intriguing and the characters where charming. The setting was also great and really amplified the atmosphere of the story. However, the development of magical powers was quite jarring and seemed out of place.
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M.J. Beaufrand is the author of The River, which was nominated for an Edgar Award, and Primavera. She has an MFA in creative writing from Bennington College. She lives in Seattle with her husband, two kids, and strange dogs.

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