Sadie by Courtney Summers is a gripping story about a runaway girl on a mission to find a man to make him pay for what he’s done. We don’t find out what exactly that is until midway through the book. Until then, the reader is simply tagging along on the reckless journey Sadie makes across Colorado, and left wondering what on earth could have possessed this girl to drop everything and hunt for this man.
The story is revealed in two parts: Sadie’s perspective, and that of podcaster West McCray as he puts the pieces of Sadie’s story together through interviews and research at a later date. West attempts to retrace Sadie’s footsteps to figure out where she was going and what she learned along the way, and a good portion of the story is really that vague. If you stick with it until the second half, it picks up enough speed to make the beginning worth it. The ending arrives with some suspense and is equal parts satisfying and unsatisfying.
I wish the reason behind Sadie hunting down Keith was revealed earlier in the story. There was so much vagueness surrounding Sadie’s reason for leaving home to find him, that all you really had to focus on was learning her backstory and that of her mother, Claire, and surrogate grandmother, May Beth. I was not interested in this aspect simply because I found it all to be upsetting. Without knowing what Sadie was after and why, I contemplated whether I even felt the need to finish the book.
Once I got to the middle of the book and it was revealed that Keith was a pedophile and the rest of the story came into focus, Sadie’s blind rage at wanting to find him made sense and thus the story picked up the pace considerably. The second half was when the real story came through.
The most compelling aspect of this book was the dueling narratives between Sadie and West McCray’s podcast. This was an inventive approach that gave the book a modern twist that I think will be appealing to younger readers. I’m told that the audiobook experience of listening to Sadie is just as unique because of this, although I haven’t listened to it myself.
I wouldn’t outright recommend this to anyone because as I said, I found the majority of it to be upsetting. I gave this book five stars on Goodreads because I felt that the writing was exceptional, the ending was good, and there was enough suspense to keep me reading until the end. The things that I didn’t like were simply my opinion and had nothing to do with the book itself. Still, I would caution anyone considering reading this book to research it first before diving in with no warning. On the whole, it was disturbing. I wouldn’t read it again, and I was ready to read something else almost as soon as I put it down.