Author: Courtney Summers
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Wednesday Books
This book destroyed me, in every sense of the word. I cannot think of any recent book I have read that made me feel so many emotions while reading it, and even still after having finished it. I cannot get this story out of my head now, and I’m not sorry about it. I think this story is one that everyone should read. Yes it talks about some very deep and dark topics but I think they are ones that need to be talked about. They need to be thought about. We need to be the voice for those that have none. I am so deeply impacted by this, I don’t know how I will ever forget this story, and I hope Courtney Summers writes more stories like this masterpiece.
Sadie’s story is told from her own point of view and also in conjunction with the podcast The Girls. I was amazed and even more in awe to find out that this is a real podcast. Yes, that’s right. You can go to Spotify right now and search for The Girls and it will pop up and you can listen to the actual podcast. With that in mind I also want to seriously recommend to you listening to the audiobook of Sadie. This is the format I chose to read Sadie and I have no regrets about it because this audiobook is one of the best I have ever heard. It is read with a full cast AND the podcast is included throughout the story, so if you wanted to listen to the podcast you can listen to both at the same time!
Sadie is the story of a girl who has not had an easy life, and had to grow up too fast for her age because of it. Her mother has always abused alcohol and makes very poor decisions as a result. This leaves Sadie to not only be a big sister to Mattie, but to also act as a motherly figure. Mattie is Sadie’s whole world, so when the worst possible thing happens to Mattie, Sadie cannot stand by without any answers.
After Mattie’s murder, Sadie skips town in search of Keith, the man she believes killed her younger sister and ruined her whole world. Sadie travels from town to town in search of this man and along the way makes some horrific discoveries that will change her life forever. All the while, radio personality West McCray is hosting a podcast covering small forgotten towns in America when he hears of Sadie’s disappearance and becomes desperate to try and find her. Will he find her before it is too late?
I think going into this story you need to know that there are some trigger warnings that should not be ignored, such as: pedophilia, sexual assault, murder, drug use and underage drinking, and abandonment. This book is heavy and very dark but I also feel this story is incredibly necessary and should be read. These things happen. As much as we as a society try to sweep the dark things like this under the rug we absolutely cannot ignore these situations. I think Sadie’s story brings these elements into the light and I hope if anything, it helps someone find their way.
I love how this story plays out. Told in alternating chapters of Sadie’s point of view and West McCray’s podcast, these two stories along different timelines are told so beautifully. It becomes the ultimate question, what happens to Sadie? I love that along the way we are told from her perspective what she sees, what happens to her, but we don’t know what will happen to her. The ending is left fairly open ended as to what happened to her and to me it felt like the perfect ending for this book. I see it as we can make it the ending we need it to be for the way we interpreted the story. At first I was mad because I want definitive answers, but now that I’ve had a couple days to think about it I realize now how fantastic this ending is. The fact that days later I am still stewing about this means Courtney Summers truly drudged up some feelings in me and I cannot think of very many books that have left me feeling this way.
I also loved this story because I think it had some wonderful representation. First and foremost was Sadie’s severe stutter. Going into listening to the audiobook and only knowing the briefest amount of the synopsis I had no idea that Sadie would have a stutter, but I loved it. The audiobook made it feel so real because Sadie’s narrator did such a fantastic job portraying her. I could almost feel the stutter it was so powerful. Sadie struggles with this, she always has and it almost defines her when people try talking to her and she has to push through the immense struggle of her stutters block on her words. I have never read a book before where a character had a stutter and I think it only exemplified that our society could maybe be a little more compassionate towards people we don’t know. We don’t know their story, we don’t know their struggles, how can we ever judge them especially without knowing them? Also shown in this book but maybe not specifically called out is Sadie’s sexual preferences. I 100% do not see Sadie as straight (because of a certain scene) or even bi really. She doesn’t seem to define herself any one way and I love that about her, I think of Sadie as more pan than anything. With that being said though I love that in this story, however Sadie defines herself is not what matters. It is not made out to be a big deal and doesn’t encompass her. It just is what it is. I think we need more books like this one.
Sadie gets a solid 4 stars from me. The story was compelling, dark, mysterious (this to me is a classic who-dun-it story with a twist), and I couldn’t get enough. Once I started I didn’t want to stop. If you end up reading this book I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, I think this will be a top 10 read of 2019 for me!