Sadie | a new favorite book (and a spoiler-free review)

sadieSadie by Courtney Summers
Published: September 4th 2018 by Wednesday Books
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary (YA)
Rating: 5/5 stars – ★★★★★

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.

my review

I got an ARC copy of Sadie at YALC in July, and I started reading it immediately. It was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, since Courtney Summer’s previous book All the Rage ended up being one of my favorite reads. I’m so glad to say I wasn’t left disappointed. This book is absolutely incredible. Let me tell you why.

Formats

There are two parts to this story.

In one, we follow Sadie as she searches for the man she believes killed her little sister, so she can kill him. She leaves her small little town and the trailer she lives in behind, buys a car and starts her search. She tells no one about her mission.

In the other, we are reading the transcript of (or listening to) a podcast called The Girls. The podcast is somewhat similar to Serial, and it investigates the disappearance of Sadie and the murder of her sister, Mattie. Like I said, you can also listen to the podcast parts of this book because they’re actually producing a podcast called The Girls: Find Sadie!

Trigger warnings? Obsession?

The different formats make for a very interesting read. As Sadie didn’t tell anyone she was leaving, at first the people assume she was kidnapped or just ran away because she couldn’t deal with losing her sister. The podcast aspect also explores the idea that we are weirdly (and somewhat inappropriately) obsessed with true crime and stories of disappearing and dead women.

I feel like there are a lot of trigger warnings for this book: substance abuse, addiction, sexual abuse, and more. However, what Courtney Summers did so well is that these things don’t actually happen on page. You know that they happen(ed) to the characters in the book, and you see their lasting trauma and how it changed them. But you don’t actually witness it. You can still see the impact they left on the people without needing to be confronted with them yourself. They aren’t used as plot twists or to leave you shocked, instead they are just part of the characters’ stories. In my opinion, this is utterly brilliant.

Courtney Summers is not afraid to tackle taboo subjects. The things we don’t like to talk about, or hope will never happen to anyone we know. How the perpetrators are more often than not people we’d never see as harmful. How guilty and disgusted the victims feel, even though they are the victims. My heart broke about 149304203 million times throughout this book.

Sadie

Let’s talk about Sadie. Here’s her mission.

I’m going to kill a man.
I’m going to steal the light from his eyes. I want to watch it go out. You aren’t supposed to answer violence with more violence but sometimes I think violence is the only answer. It’s no less than he did to Mattie, so it’s no less than he deserves.

Sadie is such an incredible character. First of all, we have a main character with a stutter. It sounds awful to say that I love the fact that we have a main character with a speech disorder, but it’s true. When we talk about diversity, we also need to talk about disability and disorders because so many people are living with them. It’s not realistic to never talk about them at all. I really like how it addressed the way people treated Sadie when they realized she has a stutter. They either think she is stupid, or make fun of it, or start giving out useless and uncalled for advice. We need to call people out on this behavior, because it’s demeaning and disgusting.

“Jesus,” Becki says and I know it’s not because of the inherent sadness of what I’ve just told her, it’s because of the broken way it came out of my mouth. She steps back a little because that shit is catching, you know, and if she gets it, there’s a 100 percent chance she’ll pass it on to her fetus.

After realizing Sadie has a stutter, Becki not only stepped back but immediately assumed Sadie was incapable of doing things like driving.

It’s not the first sorry imitation of myself I’ve ever heard, but I still want to pull his tongue out of his mouth and strangle him with it.

Let’s just say that Sadie was an incredibly interesting character. She has taken care of her sister her entire life, and now she has lost the only purpose she had. She takes control -and revenge. To be honest, reading about her life broke my heart.

Family

Another intriguing aspect were the family dynamics. Sadie is utterly devoted to Mattie, but Courtney Summers also explores the different perspectives and sides of their love. How Sadie sometimes got so mad because of the way Mattie acted, and how sick she was at times of taking care of her. How guilty that made her feel. It also doesn’t portray Mattie as this angel who happened to be murdered, but rather as a real girl.

It explores how everyone has a different view of someone based on the lens they are looking through. Our experiences and biases taint how we see others, and that’s explored more in the podcast part of this novel.

I also found it interesting that they addressed that sometimes we do things that we think are good for others, things that will help them, when in fact they don’t help at all. How we impose our opinion on what’s the right thing to do on others, especially if we are older and can take decisions for them.

Final thoughts

I know this book will be on my best books of 2018 list. I know I’ll re-read it at some point to annotate even more than I already have. I was too engrossed in the story at times to take my time and mark pages, so I definitely want to go back to that.

I can’t recommend this book enough. Yes, it will break your heart along the way. But it’s so worth it.

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YALC Book Haul

I talked about going to YALC in my July wrap up earlier this month, but I haven’t talked about the books I managed to acquire there. I did write a post on the books I wanted to bring to YALC to get signed, which you can find hereThe only book I didn’t take with me from that list was The Mime Order, so I didn’t get to meet Samantha Shannon. All the others I managed to get signed!

I knew I had to try and control my book buying urges better than I did last year. To enforce better buying behavior in myself, I only brought a small suitcase with me (and my purse of course). That way, I could only bring a small amount of extra books home with me. Here’s what I got!

ARCs

Sadie by Courtney Summers // Wednesday Books // One of the stands at YALC had an offer where you could get one galley/ARC for free if you bought one book. So when I bought a book, I chose Sadie as my free galley. I had wanted to read this for ages, ever since I saw it on Netgalley, because I adored All the Rage by Courtney Summers so much. I read it while in London and I can’t tell you how much I loved this book. It’s SO GOOD. I know it’ll be on my favorites of 2018 list. I haven’t written a review on it yet, but I summarized it on Twitter on my favorite reads of 2018 thread.

Easy Prey by Catherine Lo // Amulet // I had never heard of this book before, and to be honest I kind of hate that cover. It makes me think of some weird UK dramatic high school show (no, I am not talking about Skins because I love Skins). Anyway, I thought the premise of this book was quite interesting. It’s about sexting, and ‘racy pictures’ of Ms. Bailey that got leaked by someone. Who did it? Drew, Mouse or Jenna?

Finished Copies

Running With Lions by Julian Winters // Duet books // A week or two ago, I saw this book mentioned in a blog post on recommendations for Hufflepuffs. I can’t remember which one though, so if you wrote that post please let me know so I can credit you. They described this as a gay sports romance for Hufflepuffs, which made me so excited to read it. I saw it at YALC and decided to buy it (even though it was at full price which made me cry a bit on the inside). I also managed to read it while I was at YALC, and all I will say is that everyone should read this book because it was fantastic. Again, I haven’t written a review on it yet but you can see my summary in my Twitter thread.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes // Speak // This is the book I bought to get the ARC of Sadie. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not the only reason I bought this. I’ve wanted to read this ever since it was released but somehow never got around to it. Now I have my own copy!

Down Station (Down Station #1) by Simon Morden // Gollancz // Gollancz was having a 3 for £10 sale, so I got two books and combined my purchase with Alessandra’s, since she wanted to buy 1 book from their stand. I had never heard of Down Station before, but the cover is just so beautiful I had to pick it up. It’s about a small group of tube workers and commuters who escape a fiery apocalypse taking over London through a service tunnel and suddenly find themselves in another world.

Swordspoint (The World of Riverside #1) by Ellen Kushner // Gollancz // Another one I had never heard of before. I also just realized that this book was written in the 80s? Thanks to the cover, I figured it would be a new release. I honestly have no idea what this is about but it’s fantasy and it’s got a sword on the cover/in the title. So I bought it.

Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon // Amulet // Amulet Books also had a 3 for £10 sale going on, which is why I picked up these books. I’ve had Done Dirt Cheap on my to-read list for quite a while. I’ve heard it described as a younger version of Sons of Anarchy with two women as the lead characters. Sounds great to me.

Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee // Amulet //  This is a non-fiction book in which Sungju describes his childhood in North-Korea. Forced to live on the streets since age 12, he resorted to stealing, begging and fighting to survive. This final version of the book was written with the help of Susan McClelland, a journalist. My copy is actually signed too!

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate // Amulet // I have heard nothing but amazing things about this book. It’s about a girl who is tired of not getting lead roles in the school musicals because of her Alto 2 voice. So she pretends to be a guy to join the all-male a cappella group called The Sharpshooters. SOUNDS PERFECT TO ME.


That’s it. Those were all the books I acquired at YALC! Have you read any of these? Which one should I pick up first?

Books I Love With Tropes I Hate | #T5W

I’m finally doing another Top 5 Wednesday post! Today, we’re talking about books we loved that include tropes we usually hate. Let’s get started.

Character who is good at literally everything // Darrow from Red Rising // I usually despise it when the main character just happens to be good at anything they try. No matter what, without any training. Come on, it’s just not realistic or believable at all! Darrow is kind of an example of that. He’s incredibly smart, deft with his hands, great strategic mind, learns easily, etc. Just… you know, good at everything. For some reason, it didn’t really bother me while reading this book and I ended up loving it despite the trope being present.

Miscommunication to further the plot/romance // Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton // This trope is so ridiculous. Can we please put an end to it? Don’t use miscommunication to further your plot or keep the love interests conveniently apart. JUST DON’T. Maybe we should teach young adults to communicate instead of constantly keeping secrets ‘for the other’s benefit’. It happened in this book too, but I still loved it.

Love triangles // Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier // There are just so many of them. There are very few love triangles I don’t dislike. I feel like it has to be written well, like there has to be a reason for the two to fall in love with the same person. Usually, it’s just added for the sake of extra tension in the plot. The love triangle in Daughter of the Forest is one I don’t actually mind -and one in which I agree with the end ship.

Girls being mean to each other for no reason whatsoever // Red Sister by Mark Lawrence // Just stop. Stop writing about girls being mean to other girls. Write about girls empowering other girls instead! I thought this trope appeared in Red Sister for a while, because Arabella was constantly mean to Nona at first. But then they turned around and became good friends instead and I was so happy to see that.

The misunderstood bad boy/criminal // Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier // I am too old for this trope. Seriously, I can’t deal with it. Give me all the nice, thoughtful and funny guys who are passionate about their hobbies and life instead. In some small cases though, I do like this trope. One example is Son of the Shadows. As you can tell, Juliet Marillier can get away with using these tropes. She’s just such a great storyteller.


Those are 5 books that I love with tropes I hate. Have you read any of these books? Which tropes do you hate? 

Week 1 of the #NEWTsReadathon2018 | An Update

The first week of the N.E.W.T.s readathon has passed, and I’m here to give you a little update. Usually I would wait until the end of the readathon and do a wrap up then but since this readathon spans the entire month of August, I figured it would be easier to give you updates every week. So what did I manage to read for the first 7 days of the readathon (August 1-7)?

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I started the readathon off by picking up The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4) by Brandon Sanderson.

I’ve been meaning to pick this book up for ages. I started reading the Mistborn series in 2014, which means I’ve been invested in this world for quite a while already.

To be honest, I was afraid I wouldn’t like The Alloy of Law as much as the first three books in the series. After all, it’s set 300 years after the events of The Hero of Ages, and revolves around an entirely different set of characters.

I am happy to be proven wrong by Brandon Sanderson. I ended up really enjoying this book, even though it does feel like the first book in a series: a lot of time to set up the world and characters, so they can be fleshed out in the next books. I gave it 4 stars, and I can’t wait to read the next book. Even though I’ll have to buy it first and I’m really trying to lessen the amount of books on my shelves.

Finished: The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
Earned: Acceptable in Charms (read a book with magic in it)

spellbook of the lost and foundNext, I decided to start reading Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle. I’ve had this on my shelf for about a year, and I still hadn’t picked it up. The challenge to reach an ‘Exceeds Expectations’ in Charms is to read a book with a cover that charmed you. The cover of this book is absolutely gorgeous.

I was a bit disappointed in this book, to be honest. I had quite high expectations because I’d seen people rave about it before. For me, it was an okay read. It wasn’t really a 4-star read, especially when compared to The Alloy of Law, but I also liked it better than the books I’ve rated 3 stars this year. So a 3.5/5 it is.

I’m not sure what it is about this book that made it so hard for me to connect to the characters and get invested in their story. The only thing I know for sure is that this book could’ve been shorter. I felt like it dragged in some parts, and kept repeating others. I know the repetition serves a purpose, but it still gets annoying after a while.

Finished: Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Earned: Exceeds Expectations in Charms (cover that charmed you)

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After reading Spellbook of the Lost and Found, I decided to pick up Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee & Susan McClelland. I bought this at YALC last week, because it seemed interesting and was signed by the author.

I needed something completely different after just reading an epic fantasy novel and a magical realism one, so this seemed perfect. In addition, the prompt to earn an Outstanding in Charms was ‘read a book you think will leave a mark’. Since this is a non-fiction book about the author’s life in North-Korea and his eventual escape, it was perfect for this readathon.

I absolutely flew through this book and managed to read it in only a few hours. Sungju Lee’s story is so powerful, interesting and harrowing. It taught me quite a bit about life in North-Korea, without the prejudices we get as Western people. I already know this will be one of my favorite books of the year, and I’ll recommend it to everyone.

Finished: Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee & Susan McClelland
Earned: Outstanding in Charms (book that will leave a mark)


That’s what I read during the first 7 days of the readathon!
Have you read any of these books? 

Are you participating in the readathon?

What I Watched, Listened to & Did in July

I’m making a separate post for my July wrap up this month, mostly because it would’ve been an incredibly long post otherwise. So let’s take a look at what I listened to and watched during July 2018, and what I did.

what i listened to

It’s time for some more music!

ASTRO – Always You

I feel like Astro is a criminally underrated K-pop group. They usually have pretty cutesy songs, which isn’t all that common for boy groups. This comeback however is a lot more mature. I believe it’s due to the problems their company, Fantagio, has been facing. Maybe they even believed they’d never have a comeback again, or maybe their group is still in danger due to the company’s problems. I’m not sure, but I would recommend listening to the song anyway. It’s really good.

Avicii – Feeling Good

This song was used in a Sense8 episode and I have been listening to it for months. For some reason, I keep coming back to it.

SEVENTEEN – Oh My!

I’m going to be honest, this is not my favorite SVT comeback. Seventeen is one of my all-time favorite K-pop groups though, so I’ve still been listening to this song. It’s quite different from their previous ones.

what i watched

I watched quite a few more episodes of Rich Man, Poor Woman at the start of the month. I haven’t caught up with the show yet, mostly because I’m not super into it. I like it well enough while watching, but never have the urgent need or want to start watching again. I do quite like the main actress! While I love Suho as well, I don’t adore him in this.

Then I started watching Queer Eye. I wasn’t excited about this show at first, because who really needs more transformation reality tv? But then I saw how many people adore this show, and how emotional it made them. So I figured I’d give it a try. I was hooked immediately. I managed to watch all the episodes in the span of a week and I can’t believe there aren’t more to watch now.

I really want to listen to Queer Eye’s Jonathan’s podcast now, because I just love his energy and positivity! Have you listened to it?

what i did (3)

July was an important month for me because I really got in a better mindset during the past month. Most of that is due to one thing: I started my yoga practice again. I had been neglecting yoga for about a year, and I always had trouble getting back onto the mat. During the month of July, I started Yoga With Adriene’s True series. The difference in my practice this time is that I went into it with an open mind. I didn’t get angry at myself for being less flexible or not being able to hold positions for a long time. I was just proud of myself for showing up and doing my best. And that had such a big effect on my life. My anxious feelings lessened, and so did my self-doubt. I slept better and got a lot more done during the day. Overall, my mood was a lot more uplifted and positive. I have been slacking a bit for the past few days because I haven’t been in the best mindset, but I’m feeling much better today and I know I will show up on my mat again tonight.

The second exciting thing I did in July was go to YALCI absolutely loved my time at YALC last year, and this year was no exception. I met so many great authors like Becky Chambers, Holly Bourne, Tomi Adeyemi, Alice Oseman, Alwyn Hamilton, and more. They were all such kind and wonderful people! Definitely worth it, even though the queues were insane at times.

One of my favorite things about YALC is getting to meet all these wonderful and kind bookish people. Here are some incredible people you should definitely follow, if you don’t already:

  • Alessandra: a wonderful and kind Ravenclaw who everyone should get to know
  • Jane Kelsey: such a fun and amazing woman who fangirled with me over the celebrities we saw at YALC -and who has a beautiful bookstagram account!
  • TJ Lubrano: another wonderfully kind and funny woman who creates the most beautiful illustrations

So that was my month of July! Or at least, the part I feel comfortable sharing right now… How was your month? Did you watch any good shows or movies? Did you listen to any great songs and podcasts? Let me know!

 

Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype | Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings #1) by Mackenzi Lee // I listened to the audiobook last year, and fell in love with this story and its characters. There was so much hype surrounding this book, but in my opinion it deserves all the praise. This took me on an emotional rollercoaster and I can’t wait to read the sequel this year. I would also recommend the audiobook, the narrator did a great job!

The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson // I picked this series up because of the hype on Booktube and on Reddit. Brandon Sanderson seems to be a universally loved fantasy author, and I couldn’t miss out on that. I’m so glad I picked these up. They’re honestly so good! I would’ve put Warbreaker on this list because I absolutely adored that one too but I feel like there’s so little hype surrounding Warbreaker compared to his other books.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt // This is quite the well-known book… I have to admit it intimidated me at first. Yet I had heard so many people talk about it and seen it in the ‘recommended’ section of so many bookstores, that I knew I had to at least try reading it. And while it took me a bit to get into the story, I ended up falling in love with it. I’m planning on re-reading it this year (or maybe in 2019).

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers // I don’t think I would’ve picked this book up if it weren’t for the hype. I don’t read that much science fiction so I wouldn’t have grabbed it on my own. I’m so happy I did. The characters in this story are wonderful and I want to give them all a big hug. And the world! Highly recommend this book (and the sequel).

Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo // The hype surrounding this duology is absolutely nuts. Yet so correct at the same time… This ended up being on of my favorite fantasy stories and one I’m sure I will re-read at some point. The amount of diversity in these 2 books is just fantastic.

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch // I think there’s a lot of hype surrounding this book in the fantasy-communities on Reddit, Booktube and blogs. I also know a lot of people couldn’t get into it. Yet I adored it. Scott Lynch is a genius, and I am patiently waiting for the next book in the series.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance #1) by N.K. Jemisin // N.K. Jemisin is one of the most recommended fantasy authors, and for good reason. Although I struggled with the first chapter, I ended up flying through this book -and its sequel. If you haven’t read her works, what are you waiting for? I need to start her other series called The Broken Earth soon.

The Demon King (Seven Realms #1) by Cinda Williams Chima // This is one of the original hyped-up series. It’s such a staple! I only read it in 2016/2017 but I loved it nonetheless. It’s a fun YA fantasy with fantastic characters.

Assassin’s Apprentice (Farseer #1) by Robin Hobb // Another one of the most recommended fantasy authors! Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings spans several series, starting with the Farseer one. I was a bit intimidated by the series and this book at first. The series is very long, and the books are quite chunky too. Yet this trilogy is one of my favorites. It is a character-driven story instead of a plot-driven one though, so keep that in mind if you want to pick it up.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik // I haven’t talked about this book in such a long time! When Uprooted came out, every reviewer seemed to talk about it. Including me. And I was afraid I wouldn’t enjoy it or my expectations would be too high… I shouldn’t have worried because this book is fantastic. I can’t wait to read Spinning Silver.


Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?