I read this book at the end of June (all thanks to the publisher and NetGalley!) and have been dying for someone else to read it so I can talk about it. After months of not-so-patiently waiting, the time is here!
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 meagre 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.
Just so you know, I am not the type of person who stays up very late. My body is programmed to go to bed early and get up early, but every so often there is something that keeps me awake, and Sadie was one of those things. Seriously, I had my light on until 1 am and my roommate knew something was up so she came in to check on me. I just could not rest until I knew the end of Sadie’s story, and even then I wasn’t OK.
I’m going to say right now that this book is not a happy book. If you didn’t pick up on this from the summary, Sadie is dark, depressing, and twisted. But is is also gripping, insanely interesting, and a must-read for fans of mystery and crime.
The structure of the book is original and immersive. Each chapter alternates between an episode of West McCray’s The Girls and Sadie’s own point of view. Not only is this a unique way of telling a story, but it shows us the conflict between what West knows and what Sadie knows. Sadie’s chapters are obviously more personal and relates most directly to the plot development and the solving of Mattie’s murder. However, West’s podcast gives us a reference point between what the rest of the world knows and what Sadie knows. It also adds tension because, as the reader, we know both sides of the story, and this sometimes makes us want to jump into the story and tell the characters what they need to know.
Through West’s podcast we learn more about the figures in Sadie’s life and how her childhood was viewed by others. Through Sadie’s point of view we learn that things aren’t always how they seem and sometimes we need to look more closely and accept the truth, no matter how sad it is.
Sadie is definitely not your average teenager. She has gone through things no one should ever go through, yet somehow she still managed to keep her sister safe and alive. Until Mattie is found dead, and Sadie is forced to confront her past and get justice for her little sister. There isn’t much about Sadie that I can relate to beyond the surface-level trait of being stubborn, but this didn’t stop me from loving her. She is manipulative, afraid, determined, and will stop at nothing to find her sister’s killer.
Read this book if:
- You enjoy true crime or TV shows like Criminal Minds
- You like reading books that emotionally ruin you
- You like dark/mystery books
- You like podcasts. Bonus: The Girls is now a podcast that you can find on most streaming networks, including Spotify (my favorite)
I really can’t say a whole lot about the book without giving away some major spoilers, so go read this book so I can talk to someone about it!!
Whether you are wanting to ease into this dark of a book or you’re looking for something to keep you going after reading it, here are some books I would recommend reading that are similar to Sadie:
- Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Media (5/5 stars)
Murder, multiple POV, timeline tension. Very similar to Sadie and very good!
2. The Lies They Tell by Gillian French (3/5 stars)
Murder, unreliable characters. Similar to Sadie in that it is a YA mystery and we don’t know exactly what really happened until the end.
3. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (5/5 stars)
Definitely less dark and depressing but still a very good mystery series. The main character is funny and they plots are always interesting.
These first two books are more like Sadie than the last, but I had to include one of my favorite mystery series. If you want to read a mystery book but you don’t want anything too serious or depressing, the Flavia deLuce series is perfect!If you’re looking for more of a thriller, read Everything You Want Me to Be, and if you want something in between, check out The Lies They Tell.