In October, a resident of the small Colorado town of Cold Creek found the body of 13-year-old Mattie Southern. "Mattie left behind a nineteen-year-old sister, Sadie; a surrogate grandmother, May Beth; and her mother, Claire." When Claire, an addict, left the girls three years ago, Sadie quit high school and dedicated herself to raising Mattie. "It broke Sadie, Mattie's murder," and it burned that the murderer was never found. Then, Sadie disappeared. In July, Sadie's car was found; Sadie was not.
Courtney Summers's (All the Rage) gripping young adult novel is told in two parts: Sadie's first-person narration; and a Serial-like podcast, narrated by host West McCray, that tries to piece together what happened to Sadie. Sadie's journey is punishingly hard--she has little money, a stutter that makes questioning people difficult and only a deep well of pain to keep her moving. The close-but-not-overlapping timelines create a sense of both urgency and immediacy: Sadie must find the murderer; West McCray must find Sadie. Haunting and captivating Sadie will open eyes to how very many stories begin with, end with or are wholly about "a dead girl."