by Courtney Summers
Expected Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Obtained Via: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for review consideration. This in no way affected my final opinion of the work.
View at the Traffic light:
A gripping novel about the depth of a sister’s love; poised to be the next book you won’t be able to stop talking about.
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 have read every single novel Courtney Summers has written, so I feel I can say with confidence that Sadie is very different from Summers’ other works. Generally, I go into a Courtney Summers novels expecting a character-heavy, introspective look at the inner lives of teen girls. While that introspection and complexity is still present in Sadie, it’s also much more plot-driven than any of the other Courtney Summers books I’ve read.
Sadie follows a podcast reporter who is trying to track down what happened to Sadie, a young girl who’s had a rough life. Prior to the beginning of the book, Sadie’s sister is murdered, but what makes this a mystery that catches the reporter’s attention is the fact that when the book opens, Sadie has now gone missing. With one sister murdered and the other missing, the prospects look grim. The book jumps between the POV of Sadie herself and interviews the reporter carries out with the people in Sadie’s life. Together, they piece together the mystery of what motivates Sadie.
Sadie is a book that straddles a lot of lines. It’s being published as YA, but with the addition of a major adult POV, it could just as easily be published as adult. It’s a mystery with a heavy plot element, but a mystery that also allows for a lot of quiet character introspection. It’s a much more commercial book that previous Summers’ novels, and I expect it will find a wide audience.
That being said, I appreciated this book not for the mystery but the complexity of the title character herself. Sadie is a very troubled young woman, and following her steps as a reader was hard to take at times, even as I was rooting for her. Even though Mattie is dead, Sadie’s primary motivation is justice for her sister, and not for herself. The intricate balance of family relationships in Sadie is one of the high points of the novel.
I’ve alluded to the darkness in Sadie’s past, but I do think it’s important to point out that this book deals with a lot of tough, potentially triggering content. There’s a good deal of violence, sexual violence towards children, and substance abuse.
While I don’t think anything can top my love for Courtney Summers’ All the Rage, Sadie is a very harrowing look at girls society often fails, with a mystery element that will most likely appeal to a wide audience. 4/5 cupcakes.