Review | Dark Room Etiquette

Dark Room Etiquette comes out tomorrow!


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. 


When I sat down to start this book, I knew a couple of things: this is about a sixteen-year-old kidnapped boy told that his former life was all a lie and that he needed to adapt to his new environment to survive. I thought I came prepared for the emotions I would feel along this journey – I was not.

First, the book is unsettling. Even before the kidnapping, I felt uneasy due to conflicting emotions. Sayers is a highly complex character; you see his weakness, strengths, and humanity. Presented as a teenager from an incredibly wealthy background, I appreciated how his privilege impacts his behaviour at school and with his family and friends.

Secondly, Sayers has to adapt to survive, and how he does so impacted me immensely. As the plot progressed, I could appreciate how a knowledge base and background research would be essential to write this story. The book presented some theories in psychology that impacted Sayers in the story, some he recalls later on.

Third, many characters were multi-dimensional – you could see a clear contrast between their personalities at the beginning and end of the book. In fact, some characters were almost unrecognizable by the end and others, such as Garrett, were static. Sayers’ personality experienced many changes; some of the directions his mind went brought me to tears.

Finally, I like that this was a story not just of the event – the kidnapping, but responses to trauma and the aftermath. Learning to cope in an abusive environment was Sayers’ key to survival. Sadly, the intense trauma he faced hindered him in some very unexpected and heartbreaking ways. At several points, I desperately wanted to plead with Sayers on what he should do – I can imagine other readers having the same response.

Please review the content warnings before reading this book. This book is such a memorable, emotional, and intense read. It is my first time reading the author’s works and I look forward to reading many more!

Thank you to NetGalley, Robin Roe, and HarperTeen for providing this review copy. All opinions are my own.

Content Warnings

This Book in Three Words

Tense, Survival, Adaptation


  • Kidnapping
  • Survival
  • Trauma
  • Coping Mechanisms

Favourite Part

There are two friendships that forms later on in the book that I really loved to see.


  • Dark
  • Emotional
  • Tense

My Ratings:

Writing Style: 4.5
Characters: 4.5
Plot Development: 4.5
Originality: 4.5
Engagingness: 5
Insightfulness: 5
Comprehensiveness: 4.5
Impactfulness: 4.5

Overall Rating

Numerical Rating: 4.5 stars

QOTD: Have you read any of
Robin Roe’s books? Let us know!

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