ARC provided by Wednesday Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Author: Courtney Summers
Genre: YA crime, thriller, mystery
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
My rating: ★★★
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.
“I can’t take another dead girl.”
First of all I want to say that despite my 3-star rating, I do still recommend this book especially if you’re a fan of crime podcasts such as Serial. In fact, Macmillan Publishers went the extra mile and released the podcast parts of Sadie, titled The Girls, into an actual podcast you can download! Which is amazing because I didn’t know about this until my friend Jen @ Pinot and Pages told me after I finished reading it. I think it’s such a nice touch and is great to hold you over until the book releases. I also think the audiobook version will have great potential.
Sadie is a story about love, loss, and revenge. Sadie and Mattie had a hard life growing up; their drug addict mom had several men in her life, some feeding into her addiction, until one day she abandons her girls. And despite the girls having a surrogate grandmother to take care of them, Sadie assumes a motherly role for Mattie, trying her best to build them a decent life. When Mattie is found murdered, Sadie vows to travel to the ends of the Earth to find Mattie’s killer. But then… Sadie disappears, too.
Sadie alternates between Sadie’s POV (in which the timeline of events are in the past), and in a podcast script called The Girls. The podcast script is narrated by West McCray, a radio personality who becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Sadie and Mattie. Like with the Serial podcast, The Girls‘ format bounces around a lot between the narrator speaking to someone on the phone, to him narrating in a studio, and to in-person interviews.
I really loved the overall intrigue and mystery elements of the story. And I am always a sucker for any thriller where it’s told in a script/interview format. We meet several characters along the way who help shape the story and drop so many clues as to what happened to Sadie’s whereabouts. I also really appreciated the author bringing attention to Sadie’s stutter and how it accurately reflects the ignorance of society reacting to someone with a disability.
There are also some very heavy topics such as sexual assault, rape, child abandonment, drug abuse, and child abuse in this book. They were difficult to read, so please be aware that these may be triggers.
So, while I did enjoy the mystery of the “podcast” and the unshakeable bonds of sisterhood, you’re probably wondering why I decided to rate it 3 stars. I had a few issues with the pacing of the podcast. There were several times where the podcast would just repeat the stuff I literally just read in Sadie’s POV. Other times I got confused when Sadie’s POV would transition between the past and present. The transitions just weren’t written very well and I had to go back several times to re-read those parts. And let’s just say I was unsatisfied with the ending.
I truly think I would’ve loved this more if I listened to it on audio and if there was less repetition of information. I also wouldn’t mind if Sadie’s POV was completely removed from the book. Maybe an entire podcast script would’ve been better?
If you’ve read this, let me know your thoughts! ❤