Author: Courtney Summers
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
I could not resist picking up this title as soon as it popped up on my Audible recommendations: a full cast of 30+ voice actors take on a revenge story, framed as a true crime podcast? Yes, please. As if that impressive blurb wasn’t enough, Sadie went on to trump every single one of my expectations. It delivers a powerful and unapologetic tale about a girl who’s hellbent on regaining control and exacting justice.
The audio production of Sadie was incredible and a perfect medium for this story, if you can access it, I highly recommend listening rather than reading to this book. Half of the book features a fictional crime podcast, The Girls, as presenter Wes McCrae follows the trail of the missing Sadie Hunter – who disappeared after the murder of her younger sister, Mattie. The other half of the book, told in alternate chapters, follows Sadie as she tracks down a man she knew as Keith. The voice actors are incredible, especially Sadie’s narrator, who did an excellent job conveying her intensity and emotion. Sadie also has a stutter, and this was portrayed very well on the audiobook.
Sadie the character is a force of nature, she radiates strength and the story is propelled by her rage. I won’t lie, listening to her journey was at times difficult, but her story was so compelling you can’t help but hang on to the ending – all the time hoping it will be a happy one. Sadie’s past is filled with trauma, yet she refuses to be a victim – she will also fight tooth and nail to ensure that the other girls in her life do not become victims either. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the book, we learn that the girl Sadie has always tried hardest to protect – Mattie – is long dead. Sadie’s purpose and drive has been shaped by this event, and listening her work through it will leave you aching.
The book tackles several heavy topics and handles them all with respect, yet never pulls any punches when it comes to confronting tough realities. There is a sense of dread that permeates through every moment in this story, generated by both the unnamed monsters and the societal injustice reflected within this book. Sadie resists the temptation to tie up loose ends and hard issues with a fictitious ribbon. Instead, it forces readers and listeners to sit up and notice not only the plight of the girls within this novel, but of their real-life counterparts.
This was my first Courtney Summers book, and it has me wanting more. I am captivated by her ability to capture uncomfortable truths through her characters.
Trigger Warnings: child abuse, sexual abuse, paedophilia, addiction, alcoholism.
I have been on an audiobook binge recently, if you know any others with a compelling story and excellent narrator(s), I would love to hear your recommendations.