Monday, February 4, 2019

Epic Spoiler Review: Sadie

Settle in kids: I need to talk about Sadie by Courtney Summers.  When I started listening to this on audio, I was all set to be singing its praises on my blog.  I thought, "Wow, could Sadie be my 2019 version of Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone?"  Yeah, no.  No, she is not.  Because after all the promise, after the thrill ride, after the clever framing device - what I'm left with is a book with NO G-D ENDING!!!!!!!

But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

First, if the title of this blog post didn't clue you in - I'm going to be giving ALL the spoilersALL OF THEM.  There's no way for me to talk about this book, my disappointment in this book, without talking about the ending.

Also, trigger warnings for childhood sexual abuse.  I wouldn't describe it as graphic, but it is upsetting which...of course it is.  Now, on to my rant...

Sadie Hunter has been on her own since the day she was born to a drug addicted mother.  When she's six, Mom gets pregnant again, giving birth to Mattie.  Sadie adores Mattie.  She's the kind of golden child that everyone dotes on.  Mom favors Mattie and neglects Sadie (for reasons) but that doesn't mean she's a competent mother to Mattie either - so Sadie, already struggling with a severe stutter that Mom refused to get her help for, is raising herself and Mattie with some help from a kindly grandmother figure who lives in the trailer next door.  Then, one day, Mom abandons them for parts unknown, Mattie is found dead in a field, and Sadie takes off to find the man she knows is responsible.

Sadie takes off without word, worrying the kindly grandmother figure next door who can't deal with "another dead girl."  Entering stage left is a NPR-style journalist, West McCray, who overhears the story of Sadie and Mattie and decides to work the angle of the missing Sadie into a podcast called "The Girls."

The audio book is a multi-narrator extravaganza and the book is broken up between chapters from Sadie's point of view, to podcast chapters of West reconstructing Sadie's trail months after the fact.  It's clever, engrossing, and if you're a fan of true crime podcasts you will likely love it.  I cannot recommend the audio production highly enough.  I'm normally not wild about multi-narrator (thank you erotic romance for killing that for me...) audio books, but wow.  This one is great.  A+ all the way around.

So where did it all go horribly wrong?  The ending.  You've got a 19-year-old girl on a vigilante mission to find the guy who sexually abused her as a kid (one of Mom's horrible boyfriends, because, of course), and finds a nest of snakes everywhere she goes.  This guy had blown back into town right before Mattie's murder, so Sadie KNOWS (again, for reasons) that he's the guy, he has to die, and she's going to be the one to kill him.  So what happens?

She finds The Bad Guy.  And then we're back to the podcast.  What we know?  The Bad Guy came home disheveled and dirty telling his new girlfriend he just had to sleep.  She finds him about 24 hours later, dead from a knife wound in his side that became infected.  What happened to Sadie?  Did she get away?  Did he bury her somewhere?

WE NEVER FIND OUT!!!!!!  She's still missing at the end of the book.  Great, the bad guy is dead.  Huzzah.  BUT WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED TO OUR MAIN PROTAGONIST?!?!??!!?!?!?!?

Will there be a sequel?  Oh who the heck knows at the this point.  I DON'T FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS TO SADIE AND NOW I WANT TO SMASH THINGS AND THROAT PUNCH EVERYBODY!!!!!!

So what started out as an engrossing read, a YA thriller that I would have killed for when I was a teen, turns into WTFBBQ JUST HAPPENED AND I HATE EVERYBODY!

This is a genre book.  Genre = readers want a g-d ending.  This open-ended garbage needs to die in a fiery pit the heat of a thousand blazing suns.

Yeah, I'm a tinch annoyed.

Final Grade = D


Jazz Let said...

That is just so wrong, I'm not surprised you are so annoyed, I'd be spitting.

CindyS said...

Sounds like the author is trying to pull off an unsophisticated Margaret Atwood ending like Handmaids Tale. Course HT scared the crap out of me at 16 when I had to read it for English class & maybe that was her end game. Sounds like a new book the schools can add to literature class & ruinthe hope of reading something hopeful.

Wendy said...

Jazz: The closer I got to the end I was like, "Wow, there's not a lot of time left she better not...." And, of course, she did. So highly annoyed.

Cindy: Ever since I finished it I've been wondering if I'd feel differently if I was a teen reader. I mean, I read A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux as a teen and LOVED the ending. Had I read that book, for the first time, as an adult? I'd probably want to chuck it up against a wall.

Spinsterfun said...

The ending didn't bother me on this one, although I would have loved a scene where a mysterious teen is glimpsed sneaking into her grandma's trailer at the very end.

I thought the podcast angle was handled really well. I read a British psychological thriller recently where the "podcast" section was exactly like the rest of the book except the author added some lame internet-style comments at the end of each chapter.

azteclady said...

I have been thinking a lot about A Knight In Shining Armor in the past few years, precisely because how my feelings about genre romance have changed. My memories of Douglass have always been mixed (always too much the willing victim/doormat for me, still deserves better than she got), and I honestly don't think I would finish the book today, but if I did? Yeah, that ending.

On the other hand, not knowing what happens to the actual protagonist at the end of a book? That would totally merit cursing the author to hell. I read genre for a reason, and betrayal is the one sure way to get me to not only never read the author again, but to let everyone know why.

(I hold grudges about books for, basically, ever. Do NOT mess with my reading.)

Wendy said...

Spinster: The podcast angle was so well done in this book - and it's perfection on the audio version. I'm sure we're in for a slew of copycats now that won't get it nearly as right. And OMG - I WOULD HAVE LOVED YOUR ENDING!!!

AL: It was definitely a letdown. From a genre standpoint, is Mattie avenged? Sure. But it's not particularly satisfying and to have no answer to "What happened to our main protagonist?" is wrong on just about every level there is when you're talking genre.

I read AKISA as a teen and yeah, at the time that ending did everything for me. But now I'm a cranky old lady and would probably want to burn everything down LOL

lisa reads said...

I am glad I was not the only person unhappy with the ending. The book was haunting enough without wondering for weeks on end, what happened to Sadie?

Wendy said...

Lisa: It was such a haunting book and so well done...until the ending. Ugh. The more I think about it the angrier I get. While Mattie is avenged, not getting resolution on what happened to Sadie is evidence of the "universe not being righted." It's hard for me to be pleased with the villain being vanquished when our avenger is left twisting in the breeze.

This is YA though, and it's been a big success. I'm wondering if we're going to be in for a future sequel....