Sadie by Courtney Summers
Young Adult | Contemporary | Mystery
Published by Wednesday Books
Released September 4, 2018
Sadie was everywhere in the latter half of 2018. It was being talked about on booktube, popping up all over bookstagram, positive reviews filling up my RSS reader. I don’t read a lot of contemporary fiction, especially young adult contemporary, but hearing about this book so much put it in my head that I should give it a chance. I’m so, so glad that I did.
The story follows Sadie as she tries to track down her little sister Mattie’s murderer. It’s told from two perspectives: Sadie herself, as we watch events unfold around her, and through West McCray, the host of a radio series/podcast who is trying to retrace Sadie’s footsteps.
I listened to this novel is audiobook format after hearing from countless people that it brought the story to life in a way that the physical novel didn’t. Even though I’ve never held the physical copy of Sadie in my hands, I completely agree with that. The dual format of the audiobook, as well as a full cast, is how I would recommend everyone read this story.
It didn’t take me long to feel sorry for Sadie and the difficult life she’s lived through. She’s a complicated character, and that makes her feel more realistic. Many authors who write characters with terrible pasts have a tendency to make their characters one-dimensionally strong heroes or heroines, and that wasn’t the case here. Sadie was undoubtedly strong, but she was also so fragile at times, and both take up equal time in the narrative.
One of the things I really appreciated about the West McCray part of this book is that we get to see him become more and more obsessed with Sadie, her family, and wanting to find her. Towards the beginning, we hear him telling his producer that he doesn’t think this is much of a story, and that same producer tells him to keep on it. Thankfully he does, and by the end of the story, West wants to find Sadie just as much as people who have known her forever.
The last thing I want to talk about is something that immediately hooked me to the story. Sadie has a very severe stutter. I mentioned a little while ago on Read Yourself Happy that I have a speech impediment myself and, while I have a different type from Sadie, the representation was absolutely perfect. Her internal dialogue about how people perceive her as stupid because of the way she talks was something I’ve experienced so many times that I couldn’t even begin to count them. There are also moments where she doesn’t want to talk to someone because it’s too frustrating to deal with, and that’s also something I’ve dealt with. It’s very rare that books feature characters with a speech impediment, so I was thrilled to find this one. It wasn’t something I knew going into the book, but it pulled me in as soon as I heard it.
This novel isn’t for everyone, as it does deal with a lot of hard topics, such as pedophilia, child abuse, sexual assault and rape, murder, drugs, and addiction. If you’re able to read about those topics, though, I definitely recommend this heartbreaking book. Courtney Summers did a fantastic job of telling this story, and I will be eagerly seeking out more books by her.