Author: Courtney Summers
Page Count: 224 pages
Rating: 5 / 5 ✨✨✨✨✨
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.
“Every little thing about you can be a weapon, if you’re clever enough.”
Sadie is one of the most emotionally devastating books I’ve ever read. I actually sort of half read / half listened to this one on audiobook – if you have a chance to listen to it, I’d highly recommend it. Courtney Summers’ writing is incredible, and the full voice cast for the audiobook does it justice in such an amazing way. Each character stands out completely through the narrative, but when hearing their voices, they completely come alive and I was so wrapped up, in the story, I’d sit in my car after parking just to finish the end of my chapter.
I’ve never read a book written like this before. It’s told in two main perspectives – that of Sadie, the main character and book’s namesake, and the radio guy who ends up investigating her disappearance in a podcast. The podcast angle was genius for this type of story – and so topical, what with so many of them popping up and existing right now. I love listening to a good podcast, and honestly, the one that Summers creates in this book is one I’d actually subscribe to.
Sadie is such a tough character, and I absolutely loved how realistic and relatable the depiction of her was. She’s been through some shit, and it’s hardened her – but she’s still soft inside, at least a little bit. When her little sister dies, her world is completely rocked. Her ability to stay so focused on her goal through the book was admirable, although I was terrified to see where the road would lead her. Each step closer to the end of her journey was believable for what she’d been through – and what she hadn’t. Some of the parts of her trying to discover herself while being on this journey were particularly devastating – despite everything else happening to her and around her, at her core, Sadie is just a girl, lost years before even being reported so officially.
I also really loved Mattie’s character. Although we never get to really meet her before she dies, getting to know her through Sadie’s memories and thoughts made her feel as thoroughly fleshed out as Sadie herself. Her brattiness, her curiosity, her desire to be older and to grow up and to be her own person – she felt so real, which just made everything all the more devastating.
I don’t like to post spoilers in reviews, so I can’t explain how completely heartbreaking this story is fully – you just need to read it. While I wouldn’t categorize this as “horror” per se, if that’s your preferred genre, definitely check it out. I would also say that if you enjoy things in the true crime sort of genre, you’ll like this. It’s like an extended episode of Law & Order: SVU, with a little bit of heartfelt Lifetime drama thrown in. I loved it, and would eagerly gobble up anything Summers writes in the future.
And, yes, it made me cry. Hard. A lot. For awhile. Don’t judge me – just commiserate when you’re crying your eyes out after finishing it, too!
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