Sadie by Courtney Summers was one of the most hyped books of 2018. I’d seen it all over bookstagram and I’m really grateful to my friend for gifting it to me. I definitely enjoyed Sadie, it was a fast and enjoyable read that deals with some really heavy subject matter. I went in to Sadie knowing near nothing about it or the plot and I think that’s probably the best way to experience it.
With that being said, this review won’t be 100% spoiler free. I’m not going out of my way to spoil Sadie, but I’m not going to be careful about removing spoilers either. So there’s your warning.
This is one of the more difficult reviews I’ve written this year because I found Sadie to be a mixed bag with strength and weaknesses, and I’m not sure which outweighs the other yet.
Sadie is presented to us through two narratives; Sadie’s first person and present tense POV and transcripts of a podcast that was about Sadie and her sister. I’ve heard that the audio book for Sadie is incredible;especially the podcast parts, but I’ve only read the book.
The plot revolves around 19 year old Sadie, who has run away from her home (despite it not feeling much like one) with revenge on her mind.She’s looking to seek out and kill the man who she thinks murdered her younger sister Mattie three years prior.
“There’s something else that separates her from May Beth – her voice. May Beth’s voice is crumbling sugar cubes. This woman’s is tart apple pie.”
Before I go on to what is fundamentally wrong with this plot, let me just say that Sadie as a character is fantastic. She has a clear motivation, and she goes for it. She doesn’t mess around or get too distracted.She is well and truly on a mission and is bad-ass from the start. She’s also rough and gritty. She tells us she is out for blood, and she means it.
I have to say that it felt like we spent just a chapter or two more than we needed to with Sadie. There were a couple of chapters on her journey that didn’t do too much to push the plot further or delve into Sadie’s character. However I love road trip novels, so I’ll give it a pass.
“Every little thing about you can be a weapon, if you’re clever enough.”
Sadie also has a speech impediment that is written exceptionally well and is consistent all the way through the novel. But the best part is that her stutter is something she has, but Sadie is not her stutter. It is not the sole descriptive of her character and is a great example of representation done right. Sadie is also a good person deep down. She has extremely dark thoughts at times, and is more than likely capable of great violence, but when all is said and done she is a good person who just wants justice after years of suffering.
Ok, now on to the plot holes. Sadie is after the man who she thinks killed her sister. This man was also a child sexual predator who sexually abused Sadie. This man has painstakingly altered his identity with each city he goes to, so as to help keep his perversions and crimes secret. He’s been Keith, Darren, Jack, Christopher and likely many more. The thing is, once he’s finished being a scumbag with one family, he moves on and those people never hear from him again…yet he came back for Mattie…why?
“People don’t change. They just get better at hiding who they really are.”
He’s clearly worked incredibly hard to remain discreet and anonymous, so why would he go back for Mattie in the first place and why on earth would he kill her in such a public way? It seemed massively out of character. Also, there is no explanation as to why Sadie thought/how Sadie knew that this man murdered her sister. She just seems to jump to that conclusion. I mean, yeah, the guys is a fucking disgusting human for being a pedophile and I want him dead, but there was no indication that he was a murderer. I could have missed something that explained this, but I don’t think I did. I think it’s just a plot hole that the author hopes people don’t notice as they might be distracted by the subject matter.
I mentioned earlier that Sadie was hell-bent on revenge, and I was right there with her and wanted her to get it. But did she? Sadie has something that divides readers: an ambiguous ending. You get to decide if Sadie lives or dies after her confrontation with the man who sexually abused her as a child she believes killed her sister. I personally believe that Sadie dies at the hands of this man. So I felt a bit cheated. I wanted Sadie to kill this guy. I wanted her revenge for her. But because of the way I read Sadie I just didn’t feel like she lived.So unfortunately I didn’t get what I wanted. In a way, this is a great metaphor for life: sometimes we don’t get what we want, sometimes life doesn’t go out way, and sometimes…the bad guys win.
“I’ve put my weak, wanting heart into the universe. I close my eyes and let myself feel it, the heat of her palms against my cheeks. Then she kisses me. Her lips are soft and unexpected and right.”
Sadie is not a light-hearted read by any stretch of the imagination.It does not have a ‘happily ever after’ vibe about it and it is a raw and emotional read. It unashamedly explores a darker and more vicious, but undeniably (and unfortunately) very real, side of the world we live in. It’s addictive and it will kick you in the guts.
However, I do think that it suffered a bit of overhype, which is a real shame. Whilst I went into Sadie knowing very little, I thought it would be more of a thriller than a contemporary, but I feel like it was more a contemporary with thriller elements. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I was expecting something else so felt a little disappointed. But the podcast and POV chapters were a brilliant way to explore the story and helped me really enjoy the book.
“I stare up at the sky, its stars. Small miracles.”
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[PLEASE NOTE]: I was not paid or sponsored to write this review – all the opinions are honest and my own.
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