Author: Courtney Summers
Publisher: MacMillan Audio
Release Date: September 4th 2018
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 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.
Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
When Sadie’s sister is found dead, and the police give up long before the killer is even identified, Sadie decides to take justice into her own hands. She knows who killed Mattie and when she finds him she plans to kill him for what he did to her baby sister. Months later Sadie is still missing, but when West McCray hears her story, when he speaks to the people in Sadie’s life who were left behind, he starts following her trail hoping to find Sadie at the end of it.
Sadie is told in alternating chapters; we hear clips of West’s podcast as he interviews Sadie’s loved one and follows her trail, stumbling across the same things Sadie discovers as he hopes to find the still-missing girl, mixed with Sadie’s POV as she gets closer and closer to Mattie’s killer. Sadie was the first book I listened to as an audiobook and because of the format this book was written in, with podcast elements mixed into the narrative, it worked really well. The alternating chapters didn’t pull me out of the story but made me want to read faster to find out what would happen to Sadie next when we flipped to West’s podcast, or learn more of Sadie’s backstory when we flipped back to her POV.
As Sadie travels all over the country, following the small clue she manages to unearth as to where her sister’s killer has fled to, she discovers a much darker secret than what happened to Mattie. Mattie wasn’t the first victim, and if someone doesn’t do something she won’t be the last. As West follows Sadie, stumbling across the same secrets she does, he becomes more involved in her story and more desperate to find her still alive at the end of it, but he’s slowly losing hope that this story will end any differently to that of the other missing girls he’s heard of.
I was hooked on Sadie from the first word until the very end, but it was a very dark story. Trigger warnings for paedophilia, sexual abuse, drugs and murder. Going in you know there won’t be a happy ending to Sadie’s and Mattie’s story and it added a different tone as I was listening to West’s podcast snippets, knowing what he would discover because Sadie had already discovered it.
Sadie dedicated her whole life to her younger sister, becoming Mattie’s sister and mother. Ever since their mother left them it’s just been the two of them, and when Mattie is murdered Sadie has no purpose. Tracking down and killing the man who stole Mattie from her is the only thing left for Sadie. Sadie has always been an outsider, she didn’t have a happy life and the stutter she can’t control didn’t help, isolating her from everyone.
As the story unfolds we see Sadie become darker and darker, she realises very quickly how dangerous the people she’s hunting down are but she can’t stop, she’s desperate to finally look Mattie’s killer in the eyes no matter what it costs her. She’s very resourceful and determined, but she’s lonely too; with Mattie gone it’s like there’s no one else connecting her to this world.
West had been on the road for a while, and when he first overhears Sadie’s story he dismisses her as one of the many missing girls he hears about in passing. Convinced by her family and by his boss to follow her trail across America West quickly falls down the same dark hole that swallowed Sadie. He fears what he uncovers, he becomes personally involved in Sadie’s and Mattie’s story in a way he hasn’t with any other missing girl and he fears what he’ll find when he reaches the end.
The relationship between Sadie and Mattie is what drove this whole story. Ever since her younger sister was born Sadie has dedicated her life to Mattie, like a lot of younger sisters Mattie never fully appreciated what Sadie did for her but Sadie didn’t care. She did the best for Mattie no matter what it cost her and even after Mattie dies Sadie is still trying; she can’t protect Mattie so she’ll make sure her killer pays. In Sadie we get to see Mattie in two different lights; in Sadie’s eyes she’s the perfect little sister, but through West’s POV we see the flaws Mattie’s character had.
Sadie is a story that had me hooked, and that will stay with me for a very long time especially considering how it ended. It isn’t the kind of book I’d normally pick up, but with all the hype surrounding Sadie I couldn’t resist, and I’m glad I didn’t because this is such a powerful story. Sadie was a character I both loved and mourned for at the same time.
What did you think of Sadie? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.