Genre: young adult
Sadie has run away from home, she’s on a mission to get revenge on the death of her sister Mattie. They were very close, as Sadie practically raised her. The details of their difficult childhood are slowly being told as a podcast host is trying to piece their story together. The book follows Sadie on her journey as well as the host West McCray researching, interviewing family and presenting the story in form of a podcast.
Rating out of five:
This book is about very important subjects. Children abuse, drug problems, teenagers running away and how they’re treated. Sadie is trying to get revenge, everyone else is trying to figure out what happened to her and her sister Mattie. Along the journey Sadie uncovers pedophiles and tries to gather as much information about her target as she is able to. The way Sadie keeps going indicates how dark the story will get. We don’t get to know how Mattie died until the end, but it was pretty easy to guess after a while. The few “plot twists” in this book is generally easy to guess, but it’s more a story of how important it is that someone is paying attention to Sadie, Mattie and girls like them.
Turns out a book partly formatted as a podcast might be a bad idea. They’ve really leaned into the idea of “Serial-like podcast” (which it was marketed as) and it’s very noticeable as I read it. I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts, there might be a reason they’re audio. It reads like a very confusing interview. I had problems finding out where the host was talking from, if she was “out in the field” following up leads, if she was interviewing someone or in the studio. It’s written sometimes. Also some weird choices are made in how the story is told, which works for a book, but isn’t usual for actual podcasts. I just got confused at times on what type of story telling they tried to achieve, because it flunctuates between an article written after all the facts are found and a news article being more continually updated. It might be a personal preferance to stick to one style.
But that the podcast isn’t real also seem to limit what kind of story can be told. In real life, awful and weird things happen. In the story, certainly awful things happen, but all the “random” people and actions was placed there to fill out the narrative and give descriptions or accounts of Sadie and her story. It’s an important story to tell, but it was very straight-forward. The story felt somewhere on the edge of having too much information of Sadie’s whereabouts to not knowing anything else than directly what was needed. There were no deeper dive on characters we met, like a “Serial-like” podcast would have, or any other details.
Back to the other half of the story, where we’re following Sadie directly. This was the most interesting parts for me. I admire her drive and the protectiveness over her sister that we get to see and hear about. It’s obviously she’s not thinking right, after the death, but we really don’t get to see just how hard she’s taking it or how she’s feeling. I missed that sometimes. She puts on faces, clearly stated, and it’s amazing to watch how she manages to con her way into information. But I didn’t really feel like I got to know her, or any of the other characters closely. She has a strong personality, but through all the different viewpoints (and trauma) it’s hard to decide what’s really her. Which might not be a wrong choice, it just made it more difficult to connect with the story.
I loved the book “All the rage” by Courtney Summers, this one just didn’t fit me.
Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for giving this copy in exchange for a honest review.