Sadie by Courtney Summers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I listened to this on audio and wow! No wonder it is the 2019 Odyssey Award Winner.
Sadie's younger sister was murdered; and now Sadie is missing. Sadie tells her story; as does the podcaster who, several months later, is trying to find her. I love stories like this! We know Sadies' point of view, and why and what she does; but we also see how others see her. How Sadie sees herself, how she sees others; how others see themselves.
Is the next door neighbor a warm and loving surrogate grandmother? Or is she manipulative who refuses to see the damage she inflicts on others? The answer is: both.
Is Sadie's mother a selfish and destructive drunk? Or is she a teenage mother with little resources or support who is an addict who does her best, even though her best isn't that good?
Some things are clear and without doubt. A boyfriend of Sadie's mother sexually abused Sadie as a child; and now Sadie is hell bent on finding, and killing, that man. That is why Sadie ran away. We know because she told us; the podcaster has no idea as he goes after leads.
I'll admit: one reason I don't like the neighbor, and had some sympathy for Sadie's mother, is that the neighbor saw that boyfriend as Mr. Wonderful, and the mother breaking up with him as yet another example of the mother being a terrible woman. When, in fact, it was one of the few good things the woman did.
Part of the tension of the story is that we follow Sadie's increasingly dangerous journey in looking for the exboyfriend and the podcasters several months later, with Sadie's fate unknown.
One reason this worked so well in audio is that the producers not only made this a multicast production with various voice actors; they saw it was about a podcasting and made those sections of the book an actual podcast.
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