Courtney Summers deserves much more attention then she gets. I remember the first time I had read one of her novels, Cracked Up To Be, and I was speechless. She didn’t try to write like “the big names” of that time. Stories she brought to life were about girls and not about romance, about friendships that were not sugar-coated versions that you could read in every Sarah Dessen or John Green book. Her girls were cold and cruel.
I wish his darkness lived outside of him, because you have to know it’s there to see it. Like all real monsters, he hides in plain sight.
Summers is no different in her latest novel. She just got better with years. Sadie is a novel written in dual POV – from Sadie’s and West McCray’s. McCray is a host of podcast Serial who is trying to find out what happened to Sadie after she disappeared when her younger sister Mattie had been murdered.
I will warn you – this is a difficult book to read with quite a few triggers so be prepared. Summers redefines the boundaries of the young adult genre, making it into something more and paving its new possible path that outgrows well-known tropes of YA literature. She manages to do so in a seemingly easy way – trough the portrayal of characters and the way she narrates the story.
Sadie as a character can be seen as a result of the evolution of all Summers’ previous characters. Sadie’s main motivation is love for her sister and desire to punish a man who hurt them both. She is unapologetic and strong despite, or maybe even because of the years of abuse. In the house that lacks parental guidance, she is the one who takes that role and sacrifices her own future so she could take care of Mattie.
My eyes burn, and tears slip down my cheeks and I can’t even imagine how pathetic I look. Girl with a busted face, torn-up arms, begging for the opportunity to save other girls. Why do I have to beg for that?
In the end, this is not a new story. We read it in the books, we have seen it in the news, heard whispers in our neighborhoods, schools, families… But it is something society has no luxury of ignoring or stopping to talk about. Responsibility is on all of us – to educate our children, to unlearn shame and blaming the victims, and not to be afraid to call out abusers.
Who should read Sadie? Everyone who loved her previous novels, fans of Speak by Laure Halse Anderson, Sweethearts by Sara Zarr and Bitter End By Jennifer Brown.