A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.
Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.
But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.
When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.
There are some definite triggers in this book that I feel should be noted, so if you’re sensitive to certain topics, I would proceed with caution (off the top of my head, pedophilia, sexual assault, violence, drug addiction are all present throughout). It gets very, very dark on some of these topics at times.
You know those books that are so ridiculously overhyped that you think they can’t possibly be as good as everyone says they are? That’s the attitude I went into Courtney Summer’s Sadie with, and now that I’ve read it, I’m here to also tell you how amazing it is.
I honestly cannot think of a single flaw in this book. It’s incredible throughout. Come on, Courtney, you’re literally just making every other author look bad. Couldn’t you have just thrown in a useless scene to slow down the book so that I could complain about pacing? Or maybe put in a character I hate?
I honestly don’t even know where to begin with this one. Sadie is told in two different narratives. First, there’s Sadie who is narrating her own story. Her sister is murdered, so she buys herself a car and hits the road looking for the man who killed her. Then, there’s a podcast by West McCray called The Girls that is about Sadie and her disappearance. The two narratives are kind of staggered so that in the podcast he may be interviewing someone Sadie ran into a few chapters earlier. And even though the podcast is for the most part just recapping things we’ve already learned, it never got boring. Like, how do you do that?! I am just so in awe of Courtney’s talent as a writer.
I loved letting the mystery unfold through both of these different viewpoints. The interesting narrative structure also allows two separate mysteries to be told. McCray is trying to find out what happened to Sadie, while Sadie is trying to find the man who killed her sister.
Now onto the titular character. I have so many feelings about Sadie. In the beginning, there were a few moments when she annoyed me. But after a few moments of thinking about it, I realized that what I thought was annoying was actually just a pretty realistic reaction to the situation she was in.
Sadie is a perfect mix of vulnerable and strong. You can hear the strength and anger in her inner dialogue, but she speaks with a stutter, which makes her sound weak. And you can tell how much this hurts her. She has all of these vengeful thoughts in her mind, but when she actually tries to vocalize anything she is thinking, she struggles to get it out.
Even just in her head, you can tell that she’s not as strong as she tries to make herself out to be. She’s still just a teenager and she’s trying to avenge her sister. You can tell that there are moments where she just wishes she could be a normal teen with normal worries. It’s heartbreaking.
I love the way she tries to take hold of her situation, and that she doesn’t try to accept the life that’s been handed to her. She’s really willing to do anything to get revenge for what was done to her sister.
I listened to the audiobook, which I highly, highly recommend. It’s narrated by a full cast, which makes the interviews in the podcast seem so much more realistic. I was so immersed in this recording, and don’t think I would have enjoyed reading it like I did listening to it.
This incredibly well-written story has stuck with me ever since I put it down. I feel like I need to read a light, fluffy story just to decompress.