Dark Room Etiquette

Robin Roe

YA Mystery Thriller

Sixteen-year-old Sayers Wayte has everything—until he’s kidnapped by a man who tells him the privileged life he’s been living is based on a lie.

Trapped in a windowless room, without knowing why he’s been taken or how long the man plans to keep him shut away, Sayers faces a terrifying new reality. To survive, he must forget the world he once knew, and play the part his abductor has created for him.

But as time passes, the line between fact and fiction starts to blur, and Sayers begins to wonder if he can escape . . . before he loses himself.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion 

“The things that hurt you, change you. And they can either make you better or make you worse.”

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) Sayers is an entitled teenager that is kidnapped and told his entire life is a lie.

I’ve read many kidnapping stories but this was different. Usually there is a sinister reason behind the crime but this had more. More questions, more backstory, and even more “after” which I loved.

Sayers was interesting. He started out as an entitled prick who bullied and used his last name to get him ahead in life. When he is taken, all of that changes and you see him break. You see him at his lowest, questioning everything.

Throughout the kidnapping, it was hard to piece the story together. Is what the man said true? Was it brainwashing? Does Sayers have Stockholm Syndrome? and so much more. I was wrapped up in this story and couldn’t get enough.

“What is something you get more of every time you give it away? Love. It makes you bigger.”

My favorite aspect of the story was that there was an “after.’ You don’t often get to see the story come full circle, and while the “after” was obviously a bit slower than the kidnapping, it was such a great addition. More than that, Roe states the research of trauma and the after. This was fabulous. I love anything that gives me the psychological aspect of what has happened, I eat that information up. While the second half of the book was slower than the first, I was still entertained throughout. My biggest want for the story was a timeframe. Sayers undergoes such change that I found myself wondering if it had been months or was it years? I didn’t know till much afterward. The timeline would have helped me understand Sayers trauma a bit better.

“How do we know if the bad things will make us better or make us worse?” She’s concentrating again, her sunflower eyes nearly closed. “I think we get to choose.”

“…but trauma can feel like a dark room. We live in it, or maybe it lives in us, and it can become a place we’re not sure we can ever escape.”

General content summary: F words= 27, language, kissing, alcohol (underage, multiple), infidelity, bullying (multiple), debate about religion and God, planning intimacy with significant other (few details), teens smoking cigarettes, drugs, car accident, injection of sedative and taken captive (2x), many corpses are found, captivity (extensive) and maltreatment, physical violence (few, blood), poisoning, death by gun, kisses, anxiety and pain meds (one misuse), marajuana and drugs (multiple), anxiety, God and religion.

Thank you to Harper Teen, NetGalley and Robin Roe for the gifted copy!

The book releases October 11, 2022.

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