My Rating: ★★★★½
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 received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Trigger Warnings: sexual abuse, pedophilia, drug abuse, violence, blood
Ever since I read Stalking Jack the Ripper and had my first real taste of a mystery thriller, I’ve had a craving for more. Then I stumbled upon the beautiful cover for Sadie and read the synopsis. I got chills just from that; I was sold. I requested it, not really believing that I would actually receive the ARC but not too long after that, I received a surprise email from the publisher saying to expect my copy in the mail!
Things I Liked:
This book was so easy to dive into, not only because of the enthralling story, but also because of the way it was written. It’s told in dual point-of-views but while Sadie’s is in basic first person narrative format, the other is West McCray’s (also in 1st person POV) but is sort of in script format. It reads just like how I imagine a podcast would sound like (or one of those crime solving documentaries you see on TV), with the main narrator being the radio host telling the story as he slowly uncovers the truth and follows Sadie’s trail before her disappearance. His portion includes interviews with a variety of witnesses who were either somehow linked with Sadie or authorities involved in Mattie’s murder case. The strategic alternating of both point of views was perfectly done to create the most suspense and it was such an intense thrill to go on this crazy road trip with Sadie and West. I tried to figure out which point of view was my favorite, but the truth is both are so perfectly woven together to tell Sadie’s tale it would feel like an injustice choosing one over the other.
I don’t know how anyone could read this and not admire Sadie, even just a little bit. She’s determined, loves her sister with such ferocity, so brave, and resilient. She’s had such a difficult life for someone who isn’t even in their twenties yet, and the only thing that kept her afloat was her love for her sister Mattie, even after tragically losing her. I could really relate to Sadie on that part of her character because I have a younger sister too and I love her to death. I would do anything to keep her safe. As we follow Sadie on this difficult and perilous road trip to find Mattie’s killer, we get to know Sadie more and her relationship with Mattie. Although they had a rocky relationship when Mattie was turning into a teenager, Sadie’s adoration for her sister never faltered and continued to work hard to raise her despite only being a teen herself. I could feel all of Sadie’s emotions leap off the page, all her pain, grief, loneliness, fear, and fierce determination and my heart went out to her the entire way.
This book had me at the edge of my seat the entire way, constantly hoping and praying that West McCray would make it in time and save Sadie somehow. I was looking for a thrilling mystery and this book definitely delivered that, and then some! I haven’t read many road trip books, but this was by far the most intense one I’ve ever read. It felt like I was holding my breath the entire time, anxiously waiting for the worst to happen. Without any spoilers, one of the things I had been fearing did happen – which is why I had to keep taking breaks from being triggered – but it made sense and didn’t surprise me as much as made my heart hurt for those girls.
Things I Disliked:
I’m not sure there’s really anything I can say I disliked about Sadie. Yes, there were moments were I was so uncomfortable and trepidation caused me to take a few breaks because this book deals with a lot of heavy topics, but I also felt that’s one of the aspects of this book that made it so unputdownable. It didn’t hold any punches.
I asked for a thrilling mystery and Sadie definitely delivered – and then some! Gritty, raw, compelling, and haunting, Sadie will stay with you even after the end. Speaking of the end, someone please discuss it with me because I need to unload all my emotions!
About the Author:
Courtney Summers was born in Belleville, Ontario, Canada in 1986 and currently resides in a small town not far from there. At age 14, and with her parents’ blessing, Courtney dropped out of high school to pursue her education independently. At age 18, she wrote her first novel and never looked back. Her first book, Cracked Up to Be, was published in 2008, when she was 22. To date, she has authored five novels and is best known for her unapologetic, difficult female protagonists. In 2016, Courtney was named one of Flare Magazine’s 60 under 30