On My Bookshelf: Sadie by Courtney Summers

July 01, 2019

In Sadie by Courtney Summers, Sadie is a fierce protagonist, willing to risk everything to avenge her sister's death. The novel is gritty and dark with alternating types of narration. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: 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.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

Why I liked it: Sadie is gritty, edgy, and dark and I was so wrapped up in the plot that I took the book to the gym with me to read on the treadmill. The mood and events reminded me of the first season of True Detectives and I loved that the novel had alternating types of narration (similar to Monster by Walter Dean Myers). Some chapters are written in first person from the point of view of Sadie, the main character, and other chapters are written as the transcript of a podcast focused on the disappearance of Sadie and her younger sister. 

Sadie is a fierce protagonist, willing to risk everything to avenge her sister's death. Because her mother was largely absent, the dynamic between Sadie and her younger sister Mattie is complex. Sadie was largely responsible for Mattie, especially as they got earlier, which cause Mattie to develop resentment toward Sadie. Sadie's quest to find Mattie's killer filled with dangers and risks. The conclusion of Sadie's mission is somewhat implied, but also leaves readers hanging. I wanted a more conclusive answer to what happened.

Classroom application: I would recommend this one to high school students and up. Some of the themes and content are too mature for middle school. Students who are fans of crime TV shows like Criminal Minds will love this book.

After reading, students could take a look at the statistics surrounding missing children: how many go missing, how many are found, and how many are not. Students could research the complications surrounding missing teen girls and find out the protocol for filing a missing person report in their town, city, or state. Students could even interview a local law enforcement agent about the topic.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Sadie for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

In Sadie by Courtney Summers, Sadie is a fierce protagonist, willing to risk everything to avenge her sister's death. The novel is gritty and dark with alternating types of narration. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

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