And it begins, as so many stories do, with a dead girl.
Published: September 4, 2018
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Pages: 308 (Hardcover)
Series: N/A – Stand-alone
“People don’t change. They just get better at hiding who they really are.”
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.
Hey all! I wanted to share with you guys, before I really get into the review, that this one will contain some spoilers. I think with this book you need to mention the trigger warnings as well as that bombshell ending that really makes the book what it its. That being said, I’m going to be discussing both plot points and the ending in this one, so read with caution!
We deal with a lot of heavy topics in this one; murder, child sexual abuse, and abandonment. It packs quite the punch for a YA fiction piece, which I think is great because YA often gets a rap for being light and fluffy, when this is anything but. Not only does it take these topics on, but it tackles them in such a raw and emotional way it was hard not to become emotional when reading this.
Sadie opens right in the middle of a tragedy; Mattie is dead, Sadie is on the run, and May Beth is desperate to find her. You’re immediately thrust into this world of turmoil and immense sadness, something I felt quite keenly as an older sister. This book has a very interesting dynamic because while it makes you mad, sad, disgusted, shocked, sick, and all these other uncomfortable feelings it’s also incredibly fast-paced and compulsively readable. Like, I knew every time I picked this up it would drag up these uncomfortable feelings in me but I also couldn’t stop reading this and needed to know what happened to both Mattie and Sadie.
I also loved the way this alternated between Sadie’s POV and the podcast. I love podcasts, I listen to them daily, specifically true crime podcasts, so it was really interesting for me to read this aspect of the novel because I had never experienced something like that before. This is part of what made the book so fast paced because the podcast portions were so easy to breeze through that you were just flipping and flipping long into the night. The writing style here is absolutely raw, emotional, and powerful, something that I think is an incredible accomplishment for a debut novel. This author is going to be one to watch, that’s for sure.
Now, before I wrap this up I want to talk a little about the ending, because I’m feeling conflicted about it, which is why I think I rated it a four instead of the five. So, when we leave Sadie she’s finally confronting Keith and he attacks her. Boom. That’s it. It then switches back to the podcast for the duration of the book and we don’t know what happens to Sadie, only what happens to Keith. While I really can appreciate how ballsy it was for the author to continue the mystery of the story and leave us hanging, I am also so so so mad about it because I desperately wanted to know what happened to her. So, while I loved the ending and can appreciate it from a writing standpoint, I’m still disappointed that I’ll never know where Sadie is. When the blurb on Goodreads says you won’t stop thinking about the ending, they really weren’t lying!