Book Review – Sadie

Time to jump into another book shaped puddle! Sadie is a book I listened to performed by a whole cast of actors on Audible, and although I did own the paperback, I think this is the way I would recommend for it to be taken in, as it is divided between someone conducting interviews and investigations as a podcast, and segments with Sadie herself in the first person. By listening to it, you get as much as an immersive performance as you would will a real podcast.

Trigger warnings for neglect, abuse, substance misuse, parental abandonment, use of a weapon.

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.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

As mentioned, I’d most recommend listening to this as an audiobook, because of the multiple layers it gives the story. In listening to it rather than reading a script, you get to hear it performed by a whole cast, which gives it an extra vivid feel.

The sections where we are alone with Sadie’s thoughts are maybe some of the saddest and one directional I’ve encountered in a book. It’s clear how devoted Sadie was to her sister, and doesn’t know what to do with herself now Mattie is gone. She’s coping by directing that grief into a murderous rage, ready to hurt the person she knows hurt her, and is sure hurt Mattie.

Throughout both sides of the story – the podcast, and Sadie – we are eventually given an almost full picture that is as sad as any true crime story could be, and as painful as any too. Sadie really has fallen at the bottom of the pile in life, and you want to reach through the pages and make her life better. It’s a brutal book in so many ways, but one I couldn’t step away from, despite some of the triggers hitting hard out of nowhere, because the characters were so vivid, I felt as if I ‘owed’ Sadie my time in finishing listening to her story. When an author can make you feel to that degree, it’s an impressive thing.


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