Sadieby Published 04 Sep 2018
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.
In our last episode, I introduced you to the two girls at the center of this podcast, Mattie Southern and Sadie Hunter. Mattie was murdered, her body left just outside her hometown of Cold Creek, Colorado. Sadie is missing, her car found, abandoned, thousands of miles away, with all her personal belongings still inside it. The girls’ surrogate grandmother, May Beth Foster, has enlisted my help in finding Sadie and bringing her home.
For those of you just tuning in, this is a serialized podcast, so if you haven’t listened to our first episode, you should do that now. We have more story than time to tell it - but I suppose that’s true for all of us.
this book is such a ballpunch.
i don’t even have balls, but i felt it - the sharp whitehot flashes of sudden impact; boof, boof, boof, followed by a deep nausea.
courtney summers is gonna ballpunch all of you.
this book’s got some things in common with The Female of the Species and Are You Sleeping, but it has a ferocity all its own, and as much as i loved the fierce energy of The Female of the Species, with its teengirl vigilantism and Hard Candy revenge-killings, Sadie is much darker and more realistic, which makes it much, much scarier. and if there are still any adults out there who think they are 'too grown' for YA books, think again, because although this is targeted at a teen audience, the quality of summers’ writing is better than many adult-market books i’ve read, and she doesn’t pull any of those punches - they hit and hit hard.
there are two narrative voices: the rawnerve howl of nineteen-year-old sadie, on the trail of the man she believes killed her thirteen-year-old sister mattie, and west mccray - the creator of the podcast The Girls, whose contributions are mostly in the form of transcripts from that podcast, with all the rounded-edged detached professional compassion of an NPR host.
sadie has zero rounded edges left. all she has is a car, a backpack, some cash, and a plan:
”She’s dead,” I whisper and I don’t know why this is the thing I choose to say out loud because it hurts to say it, to feel the truth of those words pass my lips, to have them be real in this world. But She’s dead is the reason I’m still alive.
She’s dead is the reason I’m going to kill a man.
sadie dropped out of school at sixteen to raise her sister after their addict-mother left, both of their fathers long out of the picture, and she struggled for years to make ends meet with her truncated education and severe stutter in a small-town trailer park full of bad memories and no prospects for the future.
For some people, the future ahead is opportunity. For others, it’s only time you haven’t met and where I lived, it was only time. You don’t waste your breath trying to protect it. You just try to survive it until one day, you don’t.
what she did have was her devotion to mattie, and with mattie gone, she’s got nothing left to lose and she’s a mama-bear incandescent with vengeance.
i'll say no more, but oh, man, this is a powerhouse of a book. it'll getcha.
might bump this up to five stars - gotta let it all settle.
review to come, but in short: magnificent.
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At the time I’m writing this review, it’s been a couple of days since I finished Sadie, and I still haven’t fully processed it. This is one of those stories that seeps into your bones somewhere along the way, and it changes the way you look at the world a little. It is the best mystery—and one of the best books, period—that I have ever read, and it is also one of the bleakest, most devastating reading experiences of my life.
And it begins, as so many stories do, with a dead girl.
You know, going into this story, that Sadie’s little sister’s body has just been found, and Sadie is on a mission to track down the man she believes is responsible. Besides the fact that it’s a story partially told through podcast episodes (which is such an incredible touch), that’s all you really need to know. This isn’t about what happens so much as it is about coming to know and love Sadie—and to know and love Mattie, too, through her memories. It’s about recognizing that the society we live in has this terrifying, grimy layer that nobody wants to talk about, where little girls are never really safe, and children are forced to grow up way too fast, to become adults in replacement of the parents they didn’t ask for.
Imagine having to live every day knowing the person who killed your sister is breathing the air she can’t, filling his lungs with it, tasting its sweetness. Imagine him knowing the steady weight of the earth under his feet while her body is buried six feet below it.
With a mother suffering from addiction, a community that looked the other way far too many times, and a life of barely keeping food on the table, much less having any real opportunities to succeed, Sadie feels like such an old soul. I don’t know how many readers will struggle to relate to the age of her inner monologue, but from another woman whose circumstances never quite allowed me to feel like a child, I saw so much of myself in the cynical, pragmatic way Sadie views the world around her.
I realized pretty early on that the who didn’t really matter so much. That anybody who listens to me, I end up loving them just a little.
It’s hard enough to grow up poor and in a broken family, but Sadie’s also queer—she doesn’t label herself, but explains her sexuality in ways that heavily point to pansexuality—and she stutters, which forms a barricade between her and the rest of the world. Her representation feels so valid and genuine, and it broke my heart every time she mused about how imprisoned she felt by her struggles with speech.
I’d do it all again and again for eternity if I had to. I don’t know why that’s not enough to bring her back.
More than anything else about Sadie’s character, though, I loved the fierce, maternal determination she has for taking care of Mattie—and, once Mattie is gone, for finding her killer and dishing out justice. Every memory of Mattie, whether told through her view of their adopted grandmother May Beth’s, is beautiful and haunting. The tremendous amount of guilt that Sadie carries as she blames herself for what went wrong had me completely breaking down in passages, and I’ll admit without shame that I read the last several chapters through tears. The most brutal part of it all is that, somehow, it feels like Sadie’s story could be based on a real girl—no, on countless real girls, all over the world.
I have never been kissed the way I want to be kissed and I have never been touched the way I want to be touched.
Without spoiling the plot, I want to warn you that this book focuses heavily on child abuse and sexual assault, and it is broken down in the most honest, agonizing ways. There’s also a solid portrayal of how deceptive abusers can be, as the abusers in question are shown to have fooled so many people. But there’s also another side to the representation here, as we see Sadie’s intense solidarity with other abused girls, and her desperate need to protect and defend them, even though (perhaps especially though) she feels that she failed to protect and defend her sister.
It’s about the lengths we go to protect the ones we love… and the high price we pay when we can’t.
There’s not much else I can tell you now, because I think it’s the kind of story that you should go into without too many expectations. Just climb in, let Sadie take you for a ride and tell you her story, and try not to let your heart get too broken in the process. This is a phenomenal story, and I know that I will be thinking about it for a long, long time to come.
Content warnings for child abuse, sexual assault, drug addiction, addiction-shaming, PTSD, violence, child abduction, child death
All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Wednesday Books for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
You can find this review and more on my blog, or you can follow me on twitter, bookstagram, or facebook!
"I'm going to kill a man. I'm going to steal the light from his eyes. I want to watch it go out. You aren't supposed to answer violence with more violence but sometimes I think violence is the only answer."
Reading Sadie was the perfect example of why sometimes, the timing of picking up a book can make or break your experience. I tried to pick this one up months ago when I first received it and only made it about 25 pages before I had to place it to the side. I had some heavy stuff going on in my personal life, and I think a book of this calibre wasn't helping me to escape in the form that I needed at the moment. Fast forward to this week and I decided, at the recommendation of many bookstagram friends, to pick this one up again for my readathon. That choice ended up being one of the best decisions I made, as I connected so well to Sadie this go around. All this to say, if you're in a heavy or emotional place in your life right now, you may want to hold off until the opportune moment to pick this one up.
If you're looking for a unique novel that is a mature form of YA, this is it. The story is well written, gripping, and emotional, and the podcast format that is becoming so popular amongst authors and readers alike is a slam dunk here. I've heard also that Macmillan is releasing an actual podcast that coincides with the novel every Tuesday/Wednesday ish, and I plan on checking this out in greater detail over the weekend. Sadie, the novel, was an atmospheric read, and its claustrophobic nature had me tugging at the collar of my shirt by the end of the book to try and relieve the pressure that was building from my throat to my stomach. The pacing starts out very slowly, and builds momentum along with the tension that grows as our hearts become chained to Sadie's.
It's a tough read guys. I know I've said that about three times now, but I can't stress enough how heavy, yet timely this book is. If you're looking for a happily ever after, a story of redemption, or even just a book that will allow you to sleep again at night once you've finished it, you won't find that here. Without giving away any spoilers, you can expect some questions to be answered, but to be wrestling with the remainder for weeks to come after turning that final page. The alternating between podcast episodes and Sadie's own voice really worked well here, and toward the end there's a switch that just about crippled me once I realized what was being done. While not for the sensitive reader (CW for child abuse, pedophilia, rape, drug and alcohol abuse by minors and adults, graphic violence, etc.), I have to admit that this is a book that many people can learn from, both teens and adults alike. I have a sinking sensation that I'll be grappling with the effects of this book for months to come in my everyday life-when I'm in the shower or driving down the road-and I'll be reminded to hold my daughters a little more closely, because there are so many little girls out there who live a much different life than my babies do, and it's just not fair.
Book #1 in my August #25infive readathon.
Thank you Goodreads Giveaways for my review copy!
Did you hear the first episode of THE GIRLS podcast? It's AMAZING. Catch up before episode 2 drops next Wednesday (8/8). Find it on your favorite podcacst platforms--Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Spotify, etc, hit subscribe and if you like what you heard, rate & review!
Then join in on the discussion post on my Instagram!
I'm so completely thrilled to announce THE GIRLS, an original (fake) true crime podcast series based on Sadie, created by the wonderful and talented Macmillan Podcasts and Macmillan Audio teams! Visit http://bit.ly/SadiePodcast to subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, where you can listen to a teaser now and the first episode when it goes live on 8/1! More info here: https://us.macmillan.com/podcasts/pod...
THE GIRLS features a fully casted audio experience that will immerse you in journalist West McCray's investigation into what happened to Sadie after she disappears following the brutal murder of her little sister. It was completely and wonderfully overwhelming to hear my characters come alive and I'm looking forward to following them in weekly installments leading up to the book's release and I hope you will too--there's going to be some exciting bonus content as well! And if you're game, please consider supporting the podcast and the book by rating it on Apple Podcasts and sharing this with anyone you think would be interested!
Sadie has been an incredible journey so far--one I can't always wrap my head around--and it's meant a lot to me to be able to share it with you. I hope you enjoy the podcast as much as the Macmillan Podcasts and Macmillan Audio teams enjoyed making it for you. My thanks to them and to Macmillan and Wednesday Books for making this magic happen--and to YOU for being here every step of the way and tuning in!
Seriously! Check out that teaser trailer! It's amazing.
Some exciting Sadie news . . .
I'll be launching Sadie's release at McNally Jackson Books on September 5th at their Prince St. location in New York with my amazing editor Sara Goodman! I've had the privilege of being part of an event there before but would you believe this is the first ever launch I've done for a book of my own? Help make it one to remember by joining us and getting a copy of Sadie signed! Can't make it but still want a signed personalized copy of the book? You can--and I hope will!--preorder one at the store's website.
Event details: https://www.mcnallyjackson.com/event/...
Preorder a signed copy of Sadie: https://www.mcnallyjackson.com/produc...
Sadie has received its 2nd starred review from Kirkus, who called it, "A riveting tour de force."
I'm thrilled to share Sadie has received some incredible blurbs from authors I greatly admire. Check 'em out:
"An electrifying thriller, taut as a bowstring. A coming-of-age tale, both gritty and sensitive. A poignant drama of love and loss. This--all this--is Sadie: a novel for readers of any age, and a character as indelible as a scar. Flat-out dazzling."
— A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window
"Sadie is an electrifying, high-stakes road trip--a gripping thriller with a true-crime podcast edge. Clear your schedule. You're not going anywhere until you've reached the end."
— Stephanie Perkins, New York Times bestselling author of There's Someone Inside Your House
"A haunting, gut-wrenching, and relentlessly compelling read. Sadie grabs you and won't let you go until you've borne witness."
— Veronica Roth, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Carve the Mark
And don't forget! Sadie is now available for request on NetGalley! . . . If you're brave enough: https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/boo...
I'm thrilled to share Sadie is a BookExpo America Editors' Buzz Pick in the YA category! You can check out the press release here. Congrats to my fellow picks! https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/b...
September 4th, 2018: #findsadie
And read the first chapter NOW on Bustle: https://www.bustle.com/p/sadie-by-cou...
Check out what people are saying and preorder your copy today:
I am so excited for you guys to read this one. I'm so grateful I get to share it with you. ❤
“I’m going to kill the man who killed my sister.”
Sadie is a stunning, heartbreaking read about a girl dead set on murdering the man who killed her little sister.
19-year-old Sadie only had one thing her life to love, which was her 13-year-old little sister, Mattie. Growing up in a trailer park in Colorado, she had to endure her mother’s drug abuse, neglect, and many boyfriends; some of whom were verbally, physically, and sexually abusive. But Sadie survived in order to protect Mattie. Sadly when Mattie is murdered, Sadie is intent on seeking revenge on the man who killed Mattie.
Sadie is a sharp, intelligent, edgy character. There’s nothing smooth about her and wherever she goes, she leaves a mark. That’s why when an investigation begins into her disappearance, those who met Sadie cannot forget their encounters with her.
Sadie’s story is split between Sadie’s narrative and a podcast about her disappearance. While this could have felt gimmicky, the split between the two narratives is handled with finesse. The podcast provides a different insight into Sadie’s character, and the juxtaposition between the two is fascinating.
This is not a pretty read. Sadie’s raw pain emanates from the pages. There were times when I had to set this book aside because I couldn't endure reading any more of her story. I was constantly worried about her and wanted to jump into this book and rescue her on many occasions.
This was a jarring and sometimes uncomfortable read. However, it was extremely impactful. Summer’s brings Sadie’s character to life, and while this wasn’t always enjoyable to read, her style is enthralling. I was captivated by Sadie’s voice; she got under my skin and shattered my heart.
I highly recommend Sadie and this is by far one of my favorite reads of 2018.
Triggers: rape, pedophilia, violence
I received an ARC of Sadie from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.