Before I get into the review, there are some trigger warnings for violence, paedophilia, addiction and abuse. If you are very uncomfortable reading about any of these topics, this book is probably not for you!
Sadie has had a rough life with an addict mom who has brought strange men in and out of their lives for years. She hates her constant stuttering and she lives in a sad little town with no prospects. There is only one bright element in Sadie’s life – her kid sister Mattie.. who is violently pulled away from Sadie, when she is found murdered. With nothing to lose, Sadie sets out on a journey to find her sister’s killer and get revenge.
This story is told in a very unique way. We switch between Sadie’s point of view and a podcast series called The Girls where the host is trying to find Sadie and figure out, what has happened. Essentially, this is a murder mystery with a lot of terrible layers. Throughout Sadie’s journey, we get flashbacks that help us understand why this girl is so very damaged and it is honestly heartbreaking. She puts up a hard facade to face the cruelty of the world and she is overall a very sympathetic character.
The host of The Girls gets more and more emotionally involved as he tracks down Sadie and find new clues. It’s a very unique experience to follow his search for her, while knowing what has already occurred through the narrative of Sadie. I want to give the author, Summers, heaps of credit for this one of a kind book that is both amazing and horrible while wrapped in a fresh, new format. Although I couldn’t get through the story in one sitting – given the nature of the heavy topics I needed a few breaks – I truly appreciate this book and I’ll remember it for a long time.
I’m going to do something I never do. I want to very strongly recommend the Audiobook for Sadie. It’s the most ideal way to experience this story as you get to hear the podcasts in the original media as well as Sadie’s stutter as she struggles to express herself. I have never (that I can remember) read a book with a main character who stuttered and I think it’s a wonderful representation. Most of the side characters who encounter Sadie, either think she’s drunk or dumb and it’s very interesting to see, how a normal conversation can turn into a nightmare for a person with a constant stutter.
A very, very unique book and I highly recommend it – if you’re not too uncomfortable with the above mentioned topics!
Page count: 311
Goodreads rating: 4.3 /5