Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Book Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers

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.

Sadie by Courtney Summers had an interesting synopsis. I was intrigued, and I knew it was a book I had to read. Unfortunately, this book left me feeling a bit empty.

The pacing is okay enough. I did read this book quickly. However, I found myself bored a lot of the time. Sometimes, I even felt like giving up on Sadie.

I found the plot to be lacking the action and mystery that I craved. I guess I felt that the plot was just too predictable. This is one plot twist although it's only a small one. I love plot twists, so Sadie left me disappointed. I also felt like their wasn't much of a plot or that the plot was too simple. Sadie is looking for her mom's ex-boyfriend, Keith, whom she is convinced killed her younger sister. Meanwhile, there are people trying to find out where Sadie is in the form of a podcast (which is strange for a book, but it is different). That's pretty much everything. I was also confused a little by the podcast at first. The podcast seems to make Sadie's story feel like it is a work of fiction especially when some of the podcast chapters start out with "The Girls is brought to you by Macillian Publishers." The Girls, as the podcast about Sadie is called, even has its own special theme tune. This helps add to the confusion. It's only later that I realized this book is actually written to look like a true story and not fiction within fiction.

The world building was a little shaky. There were some parts that just felt far fetched like the podcast. I just have a hard time believing that people would give up so much information to a random stranger doing a podcast. Also, it just seemed a little too easy for West McCray, the podcast's presenter, to get the information he wanted. I also found it a bit unrealistic that no one called the police on Sadie at all. People always took her at face value.

I had a hard time connecting with the characters. I felt like they just weren't fleshed out enough. Like I said before, this book is just about Sadie finding her mom's ex-boyfriend, and the podcast presenter trying to find her. I would have liked to know more about Mattie. She sounded like the most interesting character. I really wish there was also more information about Mattie's and Sadie's home life. I would have liked Claire, the girls' mom, and Keith to be more fleshed out. I would have even liked to know more about West McCray since he was the presenter of the podcast. While it is explained very briefly why West took on Sadie's story, I would have like a more in-depth look into his reasoning for taking on the story and just more about West's life in general.

There are themes of child molestation, violence, underage drinking, and references to drug use. There is a lot of swearing in Sadie by Courtney Summers. I think the swearing is a little over the top, and a lot of the time, a swear word is thrown in there just because. I feel like although swearing does work in this kind of book, it is way overdone.

All in all, Sadie by Courtney Summers is just an okay book. It's one that I will most likely forget in a month or two. I feel like there's nothing special about it that sticks out. The characters are too bland, and the plot is just too predictable and boring. Sadie by Courtney Summers is one of those books that I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend to others, but I would encourage others to read it if they really want to.

(Thanks to St. Martin's Press for a free ARC copy of Sadie by Courtney Summers in exchange for an honest review).

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