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Review: Sadie - Courtney Summers

Genre: YA contemporary/mystery

Published: Wednesday Books & MacMillan Audio, September 2018 My Rating: 4/5 stars

<i>"When Sadie lost Mattie, it drove her to leave her home in Cold Creek, to take on the loneliness and pain of all those miles, just to find her little sister's murderer and make the world right again, even, possibly, at the expense of herself."</i>

This is the story of a family shattered by tragedy, told by a girl without a voice, in a community that can’t take another dead girl anymore…

Radiohost West McRay had no idea of the depth of the story he was getting into when he first began researching a local missing girl named Sadie. Raised an impoverished, troubled family, all Sadie ever cared about was protecting her little sister Mattie from the dark things in life, and when Mattie tragically dies Sadie snaps. She sets off on a desperate journey of revenge to find the man she holds responsible, leaving nothing behind but an empty car and some meager clues to follow.

We alternate between Sadie’s own perspective and West’s podcast in which he tries to give Sadie the one thing she never had in life: a voice to be heard.

<b>Sadie</b> is a difficult novel to read. Although it’s classified in the YA-genre, it deals with some very mature topics which, in my opinion, is its biggest strength. One of my biggest pet-peeves in YA is that it gravely underestimates the subjects that teenagers and young adults are realistically able (and often forced) to deal with. They will tell of puppy-dog love and “boy-trouble” and shy away from anything more complex than that, as “young people don’t understand or have to deal with that yet”. In fact, they/we often do, and it’s always great to me to see a YA-novel recognize that. It’s a brave choice by the author and one that I really appreciate.

Another brave choice was the unique format of telling half the novel in “podcast form”. Before picking it up, I honestly had no idea what to expect from this, but I have to say it really worked. It also makes this the perfect novel to listen to on audio, which I did and would strongly recommend.

Two points of critique brought my rating down a little though; First the characters felt a little one-dimensional to me. This could possibly be due to us seeing all of them (either directly or indirectly) from Sadie’s point of view, but that didn’t take away from the fact that some felt underdeveloped.

Secondly, despite only being 300 pages long I think the novel could have benefitted from some editing down. At times it felt a little like this was a novella that had been “padded up” to be a full length novel. I would have preferred it to be either edited down a little, or having used the remaining space to flesh out the characters a little more.

I have seen many people name the ending as their one point of critique, but I have to say that I felt the opposite. I really “liked” the ending (although that might not be the proper word to use). It felt realistic and fitting to me, and I don’t think I would have found it fitting if it had been any different.

<i>Sadie</i> is far from your “typical innocent YA novel” and I have to say that it’s a very welcome change of pace. I was very nervous as the hype was insane when it first got out, but I do think it deserved at least a large part of it. If you plan on picking this one up, I highly recommend the audiobook, as I do think it added to the experience for me.

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