Author: Courtney Summers
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Summary: from Amazon
A missing girl on a journey of revenge and a Serial – like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. 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.
I feel like there’s been so much buzz around Sadie by Courtney Summers recently. I have yet to read a bad review of this book and after reading it I can definitely understand why. Sadie is structured in a really interesting way, interspersing Sadie’s own story with a true-crime style podcast whose narrator is trying to track her down. It’s a fascinating look at the way people are engrossed by the darkness in the lives of others, but the story really belongs to Sadie and I was completely gripped by the journey she was on.
“And it begins, as so many stories do, with a dead girl.”
Sadie by Courtney Summers
I was on Sadie’s side pretty much immediately. She is so determined and I would say even comes across as harsh and angry at first, but the more we find out about why she has come to be that way, the more empathy the reader has for her. This is not a cheerful or happy tale. There is a sadness and a brutality running all the way through the lives of these characters. Sadie’s little sister, Mattie, is a character the reader never knows because the novel begins after her death. However, such is the power of Sadie’s love for her sister and her search for some kind of justice that Mattie feels present the entire time. Sadie’s hugely strong sense of purpose kept me totally on edge whilst reading. Her story is depressingly compelling.
The podcast element of Sadie added another intriguing layer to the book. It takes the reader out of Sadie’s narrative and sort of puts it under a microscope as it’s narrator tries to tie together the multiple strands of Sadie’s self-imposed mission. The reader gets an insight into the people who care about or have had an encounter with Sadie, we gain a different perspective on her actions as they are perceived by an outsider. I thought it added a great deal to the story and gave it even more resonance.
Sadie was a fast and captivating read for me. It gave a new twist to the much told story of the ‘dead girl’. Sadie is a character that I felt so much sympathy for and I was rooting for her victory even as I became aware that victory wasn’t really a possibility for a girl whose sole purpose was protecting her little sister. This is a dark, gritty and absorbing book that I know I’ll be thinking about for a long time.