by Courtney Summers
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
A gripping novel about the depth of a sister's love; poised to be the next book you won't be able to stop talking about.
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.
Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.
Sadie by Courtney Summers, was a hard read, but Summers never fails to impress me. It’s the kind of story that sticks with you. I am disappointed in myself for not waiting for the audiobook because the format for this one lends itself perfectly for listening. A mystery, an investigation and heart-wrenching discoveries await the reader. Set time aside for this as it will keep you reading into the wee hours, sleep be damned.
Caffeinated Reasons to Grab Sadie
- The story format includes podcasts, narratives from an investigative journalist and pov’s from Sadie. The timeline weaves between Sadie’s and West’s bringing the past and present together. It built suspense and filled in blanks as the story unfolded allowing the reader to grasp what was happening before West.
- Journalist West McCray hears a story about a murdered young girl and soon learns about her missing sister.
- The girls’ story is a dark and sadly it could have been ripped from today’s headlines. They were raised in a trailer park on the outskirts of a small economically depressed town by their junkie mother and her long string of boyfriends. When their Mother abandons them Sadie takes over the care of her thirteen-year-old sister until Mattie goes missing and later discovered dead. Destroyed, Mattie’s death became the catalyst for Sadie’s journey.
- The story that unfolds is dark, twisted and suspenseful. As I read my palms began to sweat and Summers pulled at my heartstrings. We travel with Sadie and learn her story, but we also travel with West as he investigates and travels the path Sadie took. These threads finally merge and we learn as West does.
- Gritty and addictive Summers made me experience all of Sadie’s emotions, fears and desires. I swore, I got angry, I even wept. The subject matter wasn’t easy, but the story deserved to be told and I read on needing to know its outcome.
- Sadie is a powerful, complex character who is both broken and fearless. At the tender age of nineteen she has lived a hard life and carries heavy burdens regarding Mattie. She sets off to right a wrong and facedown a monster. Her journey takes her to some seedy places, offers her a glimpse at a life she’s only dreamed of and allows her to see her own reflection mirrored by another. Along the way, Sadie makes a difference for others and perhaps finds a little peace for herself.
- Summers does justice to their story. The ending isn’t wrapped up in a neat little bow, but it is one that will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book.
Courtney Summers is an auto-buy author for me, each of her stories are unique and leave me thinking about them long after I’ve finished reading. I won’t be forgetting Sadie.
Podcast: The Girls based on Sadie
Read an Excerpt
[THE GIRLS THEME]
Welcome to Cold Creek, Colorado. Population: eight hun- dred.
Do a Google Image search and you’ll see its main street, the barely beating heart of that tiny world, and find every other building vacant or boarded up. Cold Creek’s luckiest—the gainfully employed—work at the local grocery store, the gas station and a few other staple businesses along the strip. The rest have to look a town or two over for opportunity for them- selves and for their children; the closest schools are in Park- dale, forty minutes away. They take in students from three other towns.
Beyond its main street, Cold Creek arteries out into worn and chipped Monopoly houses that no longer have a place upon the board. From there lies a rural sort of wilderness. The
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highway out is interrupted by veins of dirt roads leading to nowhere as often as they lead to pockets of dilapidated houses or trailer parks in even worse shape. In the summer- time, a food bus comes with free lunches for the kids until the school year resumes, guaranteeing at least two subsidized meals a day.
There’s a quiet to it that’s startling if you’ve lived your whole life in the city, like I have. Cold Creek is surrounded by a beau- tiful, uninterrupted expanse of land and sky that seem to go on forever. Its sunsets are spectacular; electric golds and oranges, pinks and purples, natural beauty unspoiled by the insult of skyscrapers. The sheer amount of space is humbling, almost divine. It’s hard to imagine feeling trapped here.
But most people here do.
COLD CREEK RESIDENT [FEMALE]:
You live in Cold Creek because you were born here and if you’re born here, you’re probably never getting out.
That’s not entirely true. There have been some success sto- ries, college graduates who moved on and found well-paying jobs in distant cities, but they tend to be the exception and not the rule. Cold Creek is home to a quality of life we’re raised to aspire beyond, if we’re born privileged enough to have the choice.
Here, everyone’s working so hard to care for their families and keep their heads above water that, if they wasted time on the petty dramas, scandals and personal grudges that seem to define small towns in our nation’s imagination, they would not survive. That’s not to say there’s no drama, scandal, or
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grudge—just that those things are usually more than residents of Cold Creek can afford to care about.
Until it happened.
The husk of an abandoned, turn-of-the-century one-room schoolhouse sits three miles outside of town, taken by fire. The roof is caved in and what’s left of the walls are charred. It sits next to an apple orchard that’s slowly being reclaimed by the nature that surrounds it: young overgrowth, new trees, wild- flowers.
There’s almost something romantic about it, something that feels like respite from the rest of the world. It’s the perfect place to be alone with your thoughts. At least it was, before.
May Beth Foster—who you’ll come to know as this series goes on—took me there herself. I asked to see it. She’s a plump, white, sixty-eight-year-old woman with salt-and-pepper hair. She has a grandmotherly way about her, right down to a voice that’s so invitingly familiar it warms you from the inside out. May Beth is manager of Sparkling River Estates trailer park, a lifelong resident of Cold Creek, and when she talks, people listen. More often than not, they accept whatever she says as the truth.
MAY BETH FOSTER:
Just about . . . here.
This is where they found the body.
911 DISPATCHER [PHONE]:
911 dispatch. What’s your emergency?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: