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.
There are people who might think that this book is overhyped purely because others will not stop talking about it. Well, those people are wrong. This is one book that I can 100% confirm is NOT a case of being overhyped and honestly it deserves every single stitch of attention it’s getting. I truly had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started this book. All I knew was that anyone who read it could not stop talking about it so clearly there had to be a good reason for that. I now see why they couldn’t stop talking about Sadie because now I cannot stop talking about it. I’ve literally been thinking about this book since I finished it a few days ago and I’m pretty sure the night I finished it I even had dreams about it. It screwed me up SO MUCH. I also read it in one entire day because it was honestly impossible to put down. I have a lot to say so we better get into it.
- I was actually quite skeptical about the overall narrative of this book and how it was split between two very different POVs and writing styles. One was of Sadie herself, in her own first person narrative, and the second was in the style of a podcast transcript in place of West’s first person narrative, in a way. I have never been a fan of podcasts nor have I seen the appeal of them for myself. I understand why others like them but for me? Would never work. So I couldn’t entirely see myself enjoying a podcast transcript style of writing but because of all the good things I’ve heard about this book I was gonna give it a chance and try something new. In the beginning, it was clear to me that it’d become a thing I would have to get used to. But the more I read the book, the deeper I got into the podcast and Sadie’s story, the more addicted I became. And that’s why I found that this split between the first person narrative and the podcast narrative actually worked. If this writing style was given to any other genre, like fantasy or even a contemporary romance, it would not have worked. At least, not for me. But being that this book is a mystery thriller, it works. It made me feel like I actually was listening to one of those true crime podcasts but I was reading one instead. I feel like both narratives complimented each other well and how we would discover something about Sadie’s journey and then see how it affected the podcast and search for Sadie the following year. I think it’s honestly a testament to Courtney Summers and her writing because she killed both narratives and while they’re both very different they still came together to create a cohesive story.
- The overall plot wasn’t something that was so out of the box and completely original so that’s why everyone needs to read it. Like, say if we looked at a linear line of the major plot points, it seems pretty basic. But what made this book for me was that it was so basic but still managed to thrill you regardless. I know that sounds insane but hear me out. So, with most thrillers I’ve read, there’s the typical “you’ll never see this coming” twist at the end that basically throws the entire book out the window, in a good way of course. But what I found with this book was that the ending wasn’t something that was your typical thriller twist, but the lack of that kind of twist was the twist. It was something I expected, but I think because I was also expecting a crazy twist, seeing it play out the way Sadie always said it would was what threw me. And it’s different than the expected ending of a contemporary, for example, because you hope that it doesn’t end the way you’re told it’s going to because it would be a whole mess of emotions, so the fact that it did end that way just made feel that thrill. And then the final chapter, the final lines, were some of the most chilling words I have ever read and I swear that it’s gonna haunt me until the day I die. That one sentence put the whole book into perspective and justified the whole thriller I think.
- Sadie’s character was a lot tougher and grittier than I expected her to be. It’s clear from the synopsis that she’s gonna kill the man who murdered her sister, that’s not a surprise to anyone. But I didn’t expect to see how she has thought this more than through and understand exactly what she is doing. What I expected from Sadie was essentially a heartbroken sister that thought she would want revenge for her sister so she could move on with her life but would be completely in over her head. What I got from her was someone who is determined, who is smart, who is borderline ruthless to achieve this justice for her sister and doesn’t really care what happens to her. As long as she can rid the world of this bad man then her mission is accomplished. I was part scared of Sadie and part rooting for her, especially after you understood why she was so hellbent on hunting down this man. It wasn’t just for her sister but it was also for herself, and I’d rather you find that out on your own rather than spoiling it. But everything she did had a reason and nothing was going to prevent her from killing this man. She scared me, but I respected her and am still rooting for her in a way.
- Every person that Sadie met along the way was there for a reason and played a role regardless of which narrative you were in. There have been multiple times where a character would meet someone and they would only be relevant for that one single scene and bring very little to the overall story. But everyone that Sadie met along her “scavanger hunt,” everyone that pointed her in the direction she was looking for, came back into play in West’s podcast. I appreciate that Summers ensured that every secondary or side character had a purpose and wasn’t just written as a filler. It just added to that feeling of a truly complete story/book and helped me love it that much more, emphasizing how every little thing does, in fact, matter.
- Not much bothered me about this book but I did get a bit annoyed with the repetitiveness of “this podcast was brought to you by Macmillian publishing.” Like ok, I get it, you own Wednesday Books, you’re the big publisher, but you don’t have to constantly say that throughout the book. It was funny and clever the first time it appeared, but eventually it became like that obvious product placement you see in shows and movies. It lost its appeal and became unnecessary.
- I didn’t entirely understand the timeline here? And we all know how specific I am about my timelines so it was weird trying to figure out the difference of time between Sadie’s story and the podcast. I think I got it in the end, but I just wish it was a bit more clear throughout. But that’s just me.
THE BOTTOM LINE
- Just read the book. It’s worth the hype. Trust me.
BONUS: how this book made me feel in a GIF
ABOUT THE BOOK
Author: Courtney Summers
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Pages: 311 (Hardcover)
Until next time,