Publishing Date: September 4, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
The Premise from the Publisher: "A missing girl on a journey of revenge and a Serial-like podcast following the clues she's left behind. 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" (SMP).
My overall thoughts and review: I had read a book by Courtney Summers a few years back and even participated in the blog tour for it, and I really loved it! If you want to see my review for All the Rage, click here! I stand by what I wrote many moons ago about Summers writing. She writes about dark subject matter in a way that angers you, but also fuels a fire in you. She makes you "feel" about the subject matter. I was really interested to see how this book would play out because it's written in two ways: there is the main podcast script and then there's the story told from Sadie's perspective. I love podcasts and it was actually Serial that got me into podcasts to begin with. The thing with podcasts though, especially ones like Serial, as you listen, you have more questions than you have answers. I think that was especially frustrating and I definitely felt that while reading this book. But what I liked were the chapters from Sadie's perspectives. I found you got the answers you were missing in those parts. Sadie's story is completely gut-wrenching and she was definitely a protagonist that had your heart breaking each time her chapter came around. She is someone who has been through so much and dealt a bad hand, and the one thing in her life that she gave all her energy for was her sister Mattie. Mattie's disappearance and death completely altered her. You really feel her loneliness and her grief in her chapters. Without spoiling the main points of the plot, I really enjoyed this book. It was slow to begin with and it takes some getting used to the format, but once the story picks up about 1/5 of the way in, you'll find yourself having a hard time putting it down.
There was one part of the text that really resonated with me and that was when West (who is the host of the podcasts) sits down with Claire (Sadie's mom), and she gets mad at him because he uses his own daughter "as a reason to see the pain and suffering in her world, and as an excuse in attempt to fix it" (309). We listen to these podcasts, watch these documentaries, and read articles about cases like Mattie and Sadie's, and we look for answers in hopes that somehow we can 'fix' things. I'll admit to getting personally-invested with certain cases, and I know I do because I feel heartache over it, but in a way, my personal investment isn't really for the case itself or the victims, is it? Summers reminds us that we can never really know the full story, but that doesn't mean stories like Mattie and Sadie should simply be swept under the rug once they are "solved" or once they reach a dead end. These kind of stories deserve and need to be told, and not only once.
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮ (4/5 stars)
Available for purchase at:
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Author Question and Answer
Q: What message do you hope your readers take away from the book?
That’s entirely up to them. I think that’s one of the most wonderful things about books; that they can mean different things to different readers, and I wouldn’t want to impose my feelings on that at all.
The first episode of THE GIRLS: FIND SADIE, an original (fake) true crime podcast series based on Courtney Summer’s novel Sadie, is available exclusively on Paste Magazine! You can also visit http://bit.ly/SadiePodcast to subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts and listen to a teaser now.
The trailer for the show is available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and all the major podcast platforms. Episode 1 will be available beginning August 1st, and the six-part series will air weekly.
Listen, subscribe, leave a review, and tell your friends!
Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by Raincoast Books for participation in the book tour. All opinions of the book are my own.