Welcome to one of the first stops on the Raincoast Books blog tour celebrating Canadian author Courtney Summers’ latest young adult release, the thriller Sadie! Today, the tour stops by my site and at Pop! Goes the Reader. Sadie has been gaining major momentum leading up to its release and has already received four starred reviews. Please read on for my review of Sadie, as well as a Q&A with Courtney Summers. If you get a chance, check out the rest the great blog tour stops along the way. Hope you enjoy!
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.
Courtney Summers’ latest young adult novel Sadie follows nineteen year old Sadie Hunter as she hunts down the person she believes is responsible for the horrifying and unsolved murder of her thirteen year old sister, Mattie Southern.
Sadie alternates between the first-person narrative of Sadie herself, with that of the transcript of a serial podcast hosted by West McCray called The Girls. As the novel opens, readers quickly learn about Mattie’s murder case, how it was thought to be a botched investigation, how Sadie never recovered from Mattie’s death…and how now, just about a year after Mattie’s murder, Sadie herself is missing. Her truck found abandoned on a road. No body, no suggestion of what could have happened, or where Sadie could be. May Beth Foster, surrogate grandmother of Mattie and Sadie, contacts producer West and pleads with him to find Sadie- to do anything to make noise, to help, to investigate, to try and bring Sadie back, alive. For how can it be possible for tragedy to happen to two sisters…to two girls? Sadie has to be alive, somewhere…and May Beth brings West into the fold as a last hope.
The narrative form of Sadie is fascinating and terrifically rendered; the dual narrative between Sadie’s first-person voice as she smashes her way through tracking down Mattie’s killer and that of West’s present-day podcast scripts is hypnotizing and positively foams with tension. As the novel draws closer and closer to an end..and there seems to appear just a taste of possible relief- a break in the discovery of Mattie’s killer and in Sadie’s missing-person’s case- the significance of using West’s podcast as the alternating narrative drive makes for the some of the most compelling and white-knuckle reading. Summers approaches and opens discourse on consequential, complex subject matter throughout the course of Sadie, including areas such as sexual violence, violence against women, parental neglect, and substance abuse. An arguably critical, urgent read, Sadie may indeed crack your heart open, disturb, cause anger to the point of rage, or incite any or all of the above emotions.
Overall, Sadie is an excellent novel- a devastating, often distressing novel- and Courtney Summers’ strongest, most relentless YA novel to date. Some of what might be deemed uncomfortable or unsteadily acknowledged about the world young women face is considered and then ripped open in this novel- it seems as though Summers does not hold much, if anything, back. Readers who have explored substantial novels such as Exit, Pursued by a Bear, Please Ignore Vera Dietz, Speak, The Female of the Species, or A Sense of the Infinite might especially be interested in reading Sadie.
Q&A with COURTNEY SUMMERS
Michelle: I want to start off with a congratulations on Sadie– a terrifically written novel that blew me away. There is a scene in Sadie featuring a conversation between West McCray and Claire Southern that I found fascinating, especially given how the course of the #MeToo movement has called men out for being motivated to speak up only if they happen to have a daughter. Claire questions West about his fixation with finding Sadie and the tragedy of their family, and West says “well, having a daughter of my own has-” and Claire cuts him off with “Don’t even finish that sentence”. He then elaborates with what he claims to be the truth that he didn’t even want to cover Sadie’s story but now has to see it through. What do you think West’s truest, immediate answer to Claire’s question actually is- how misguided or possibly self-serving are his motives? Thank you so much!
Courtney: Thank you so much, Michelle! I’m so thrilled Sadie held up for you and appreciate you having me on your blog. I think West gives his truest answer in that scene with Claire when she forces him to admit he didn’t even really want Sadie’s story to begin with. As soon as he says that out loud, he has to start untangling the reason why. West is less a man who is looking for glory, in my opinion, and more a man who is slowly unraveling his privilege and blissful ignorance when it comes to the horror young women face every day.
#FINDSADIE PODCAST ALERT:
Don’t forget to check out The Girls: Find Sadie, a Macmillan podcast!
SADIE BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:
I received a copy of this title courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review and for the purposes of this blog tour. All opinions and comments are my own. The Q&A with Courtney Summers was organized by Raincoast Books. Thank you to the publisher and the author.