Author: Courtney Summers
Genre: Contemporary // Mystery // YA
Goodreads rating: 4.42
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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 meagre 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.
Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review
Trigger warnings: hints of rape/child molestation, murder, mild violence
This book broke me. It’s gritty, real and oh so heartbreaking. I was thorn between not wanting to put it down and wanting to take a breather because oh my goodness.
Sadie is not a happy story, but it’s an important one. It’s not just the story of Sadie and Mattie, it’s the story of all the girls in the world who end up dead or missing simply because they’re girls. Throughout the entire book I just wanted to cry, because even though the story of Sadie and Mattie is fictional, it’s so so real.
Sadie is told through two perspectives: the first one being the podcast by West McCray, the second one by Sadie herself. McCray’s podcast takes place after Sadie’s story as he tries to figure out what happened. Even though we follow Sadie herself, we still don’t have all the puzzle pieces, so even though we sometimes know more than McCray does, it’s not much and you still find yourself wondering what happened. This way of storytelling kept me on my toes and immersed in the story.
But as I said before, it was also very hard to read. Sadie has gone through a lot of hardship, and the only thing that’s keeping her going after her sister’s murder is wanting to take down her sister’s killer. This isn’t just a revenge story, this is a story of a girl who wants to make sure no other kid has to go through what she did, of wanting to make sure that a monster is put away. She doesn’t even care what happens to herself, and that is so heartbreaking to read.
But most of all, she lives for her sister. She is overcome with guilt and grief and even though as a reader I’ve never met Mattie, it’s so easy to feel what Sadie feels by the way it’s written. One of my favourite quotes to describe Sadie is from West McCray (this is NOT a spoiler. He speaks in the past tense because she’s missing):
‘If I’ve learned anything about Sadie Hunter, it was that she was almost a secondary player in her own life. She lived for Mattie, lived to love, care for and protect her little sister, with every breath.’
Even though a lot of the characters we only meet for a little while, some even only through McCray’s podcast, they all felt like real people to me which doesn’t happen that often with supporting and minor characters.
I honestly can’t do Sadie justice with my review or properly put my feelings towards this book into words. All I can do is tell you to read this important story (but do be careful if this material can be triggering for you).
Sadie is raw, real, heartbreaking and incredibly well-written. I couldn’t recommend it enough and I can’t wait to read more by Summers. I know Sadie will stay with me for a long time.
Sadie comes out on September 4th.
Have you read Sadie, or are you planning to? Do you know any similar books (YA please because I can’t handle adult books with these themes) that you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments!