Author: Courtney Summers
Genre: YA Thriller
Release Date: September 4th 2018 from Wednesday Books
Audio Book Narrators: Dan Bittner, Rebecca Soler and a full cast
Audio Book Time: 7 hours, 57 mins
Goodreads Synopsis: 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.
This is the most talked about YA book right now with its synopsis and the positive reception. Everyone has been raving about this dark thriller, so I decided to give it a try. These types of books usually aren’t my thing, but I got the audio book from my library’s Overdrive. I am in the minority with not falling in love with the book, but it’s a really solid book with some great stuff in it. Here’s the break down of my thoughts:
- Pod Cast Element: The fact that a pod cast is used for some of the storytelling was a really interesting idea. I didn’t know that pod casts were so popular personally, but it made the story unique. It’s a different media to tell a story and it keeps all the tension, mystery and emotions as well. I think it was a perfect way to balance Sadie’s first person perspective as well.
- Audio Book is best: I seriously can’t recommend an audio book enough than this one. Since this half of this book is a pod cast, the publisher took great care in creating stellar pod cast episodes for this story. The sound effects, how people change their attitudes, the raw emotion…you hear everything in these pod casts episodes. The transitions of the full cast is seamless and these episodes feel so real that you think you’re eavesdropping on real life conversations. I don’t think I would have gotten a ton of the high emotions and the tension if I had read this in a physical copy.
- Characters: While I didn’t love all the characters, you’re not supposed to love all of them. Sadie is such a complicated person that you both feel sorry for, but also question her sanity on her hunt for her sister’s killer. West McCray and May Beth Foster were my favorite characters in the whole book. These two people live simple lives, but get caught in this terrible event and they don’t know to digest what’s going on and the fear of the unknown. May Beth broke my heart so many times with her anguish, raw anger but also that fragile hope that she isn’t sure to show or not. West was a great person who shows great growth in the story, with showing some real vulnerability in trying to find Sadie. Then we have Sadie’s mother Claire, who is a person with hard and addictive issues who never is there for her daughters. I hated her but also pitied her. The author creates real people that are vivid, in pain and some of the best in YA right now.
- Sadie’s Stutter: Sadie’s personal trial of stuttering is something that truly stuck with me and something I want to see more of. I did have a stutter when I was young until a few years ago (it’s still with me, but not as bad), but while I never had a stutter as bad as Sadie, I get that struggle with how people look at you, treat you and that frustration when you lock up. This tiny thing can impact a person’s social skills so much and I appreciated how the author brought this to her character.
- Main Message: I really appreciated the main message this book conveyed. Society has a real obsession with violence towards people and knowing all the awful murder details with crime investigations, even in entertainment. This book shows that this murder of Sadie’s younger sister is to find out who did it and make sure that Sadie gets back home. The gritty details of the murder are never discussed which surprised me but also was a great thing to show that those details were not for entertainment. It’s also about the love between sisters who had a hard life.
- Unanswered Questions: The biggest thing that bugged me is the unanswered questions, or the “open to interpretation” type endings in this book. I feel like some things weren’t really addressed, like how did Sadie really know who the killer was, the evidence that wasn’t addressed until the end and the actual outcome of the story. I’m okay with a few small things being a little open, but this story was way too open for me to get closure. With thrillers, I feel like most of the important things should be answered and it wasn’t quite enough for me personally.
- Pacing: This was the second biggest problem for me. I feel like it took too long to get to the point/meat of the story. With some of the book being a hunt for the killer, I get that. But I still felt like I was pulling teeth to get to the major point of the story. Some of the smaller story threads took a tiny bit too much control of the story. Then we finally got the major points, it was too rushed at the end and then the unanswered aspect made it feel a little unsatisfying for me.
- Profanity: This is a personal preference of mine and it doesn’t impact the rating much, but the constant profanity drove me crazy. It’s something I don’t like, even though it can be common in normal life. But it took me a little bit out of the story when it was pretty constant.
Final Thoughts and Content Warnings: This was a really solid book and engrossing audio book. It’s one of the TOP audio books ever. The author creates some nasty, complicated and touching characters and her writing style is sharp and polished. Despite a few problems, I still recommend it to older readers. NOTE: This book deals with sexual abuse of children/pedophilia and takes that head on. I don’t recommend this book for readers under 16-17 and are easily upset or for people that have dealt with this issue.
Rating: 1/2 stars
Have you read Sadie? What were your thoughts on the story? Did you have a favorite character? What other YA thrillers would you recommend?