Sadie begins, "as so many stories do, with a dead girl."
Cold Creek, Colo., is the kind of town "that's only good for leaving." In October, a local resident found the body of 13-year-old Mattie Southern, who had been reported missing three days earlier. "Mattie left behind a nineteen-year-old sister, Sadie; a surrogate grandmother, May Beth; and her mother, Claire; but Claire's been out of the picture for a while." When Claire, an addict, left the girls three years ago, Sadie quit high school and dedicated herself to raising Mattie. "It broke Sadie, Mattie's murder," and it burned that the murderer was never found. Then, Sadie disappeared. As far as May Beth knew, Sadie was simply gone. But in fact, she went on a mission to find and kill the man she believed responsible for Mattie's death. In July, Sadie's car was found; Sadie was not.
Courtney Summers's (All the Rage) gripping young adult novel is told in two parts: Sadie's first-person narration of the events that begin with her leaving Cold Creek; and a Serial-like podcast, narrated by host West McCray, that tries to piece together what happened to Sadie. Sadie's journey is punishingly hard--she has little money, a stutter that makes questioning people difficult and only a deep well of pain to keep her moving. The slow revelation of information combined with the close-but-not-overlapping timelines create a sense of both urgency and immediacy: Sadie must find the murderer; West McCray must find Sadie. Haunting, captivating and full of surprising moments of beauty, Sadie leaves a mark on the reader and will open eyes to how very many stories begin with, end with or are wholly about "a dead girl." --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness