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Saturday, December 01, 2018

Gritty Revenge Novel Affecting, But Not Exactly Enjoyable

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Ever since their junkie mom took off, 19-year-old Sadie Hunter has looked after her 13-year-old sister, Mattie.  Their existence is a tough one, but with the help of May Beth Foster, their landlord and pseudo grandmother, the girls manage to get along okay.  Until Mattie is discovered dead from a blunt force trauma wound to the head.  Overcome with grief and anger, Sadie's fury builds to a raging inferno as the police fail to solve her sister's murder.  Armed with only a switchblade and a few meager clues, Sadie finally sneaks off, determined to find Mattie's killer on her own—and make him pay.

When 68-year-old May Beth discovers that Sadie is missing, she grows frantic.  Her heart can't take the thought of another missing girl, especially one under her care.  Desperate, she begs radio personality Wes McCrae for help.  Sensing a juicy story, Wes creates a podcast to tell Sadie's story and to enlist his listeners in the search for the missing young woman.  The more deeply involved he becomes, the more he worries for obsessive, reckless Sadie.

In the meantime, Sadie's courting trouble by asking jeopardous questions of dangerous people.  Can Wes and Mary Beth stop her perilous quest before it's too late?  Or will Sadie's obsession with revenge lead to her own violent end?

For a YA novel, Sadie by Courtney Summers is decidedly dark, disturbing, and depressing.  It tells a gritty, unsettling story that I certainly would not want my teens reading.  That being said, it's a compelling book that tackles hefty issues (poverty, drug abuse, child abandonment, etc.) through the eyes of some very interesting characters.  Summers writes well, there's no doubt about that, but I had a hard time really enjoying Sadie.  It's a little too raw for my tastes and the ending, while satisfying on some levels, bugged on others.  Overall, then, I didn't love this one or even like it all that much.  I know I'm in the minority here because the novel is definitely affecting, it just wasn't my favorite.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  You?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for strong language, violence, sexual content, references to/depictions of illegal drug use, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of Sadie from the generous folks at St. Martin's Press via those at Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

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