Domestic Noir/Thriller, Fiction, Young Adult

Sadie

Oh Sadie, Sadie, Sadie…. how you stole my heart. I give Sadie FIVE stars and FIVE moons too!

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Sadie is a young girl set on revenge against the man she is certain has murdered her sister. Her life has been hard, the daughter of an alcoholic mother and non-existent father, Sadie has raised herself and her sister with the help of an older, loving neighbor. After her mother’s disappearance from their lives, Sadie continues to take care of her sister alone until the fateful night that her sister is savagely murdered. Sadie knows who did it despite the fact that the police have done nothing and followed no leads. Sadie disappears into the night looking for the killer, leaving no clues behind and telling no one her destination.

This is where the story begins: Sadie is missing and the loving neighbor wants to know where she is, what has happened to her. She elicits the help of a very skeptical podcast reporter who has done some podcasts about interesting people in rural areas. The author uses both first hand accounts from Sadie and the podcast episodes. While I’m beginning to think that the use of blogs and podcasts in literature are becoming a crutch and a little too overused, in this particular instance it works very well. The author uses the reporter to ask a question and then, seamlessly, flows into the character’s response on the podcast. There were times that I could easily imagine how this would have sounded and what it would have looked like “on air.” Rather than being a crutch, it became an enhancement to the story. The book also is specially geared toward “young adults” and I think this type of writing works for them.

With that in mind – the “young adult” aspect of this book – I think this is the first time I’ve read something within this genre in which I truly felt that the story had merit. When I was a young adult or younger, we were offered amazing stories that told the grittier, darker side of being a teen. S E Hinton’s series, The Outsiders, or the horrific tale, Go Ask Alice,” were required reading for teens and young adults. Somewhere along the way, Harry Potter became the norm, for adults and kids alike, and I think that books with substance took a back seat. Sadie, however, is a real coming of age story about rural America, alcohol and drugs, runaways and the horror that far too many young people and young adults must deal with as a regular part of their existence. There is no sugar-coating here, no happy endings for everyone: this is life and it is told expertly. Sadie is a book that I will read again and again and recommend to every reader I know. It is a must read for teens and young adults. It is a story for this generation in today’s society, a story that will stand the test of time.

A million thanks to #CourtneySummers for writing such an astounding book; to #Netgalley and #StMartinsPress for my advanced copy.

 

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Fiction

The Lost for Words Bookshop

Happy Publication Day to The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland!

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All the stars for The Lost for Words Bookshop and Loveday Cardew!

“God, I don’t love much but I love words.”
― Stephanie Butland, Lost For Words

There are times when certain characters in a book are so vivid, so real that you want those characters to be in your life forever – in the real world and not just books. Loveday Cardew is one of those brilliant characters. Loveday is flawed, she is hurt, she is sarcastic and definitely a loner, but her soul reaches out through the pages and grabs your heart fiercely and does not let go! Not since Eleanor Oliphant have I felt so strongly about a fictional character. And yes, I know there are comparisons between Eleanor and Loveday, but they are very different and so are the two books.

Loveday has experienced more heartache in her short life than most experience in a lifetime. She finds solace and refuge in an old bookstore and through the owner, Archie, who becomes like a father to her, not that she needs one, you understand. Loveday needs nothing and no one except BOOKS. Despite her introversion, she has attracted two very dissimilar men and their stories are enfolded with Loveday’s as well. She has secrets, dark secrets, that she has kept hidden since she was a child. Now, with the arrival of a box of books on their bookstore steps, those secrets are threatening to be revealed. As we learn of Loveday’s past, as the secrets are revealed, we realize that either they will kill her – literally – or through their revelation she will grow.

The story is told from within Loveday’s amazingly quirky, sardonic mind in three parts – the far past, the past and the present. The back and forth of these timetables can get, at times, confusing but not so much to detract from the overall telling of the story. There are marvelous references to books throughout that obviously will delight any true bibliophile. In fact, the entire book – its prose, the references, the chapter headings and the bookshop itself – are like manna for a book lover’s soul.

The Lost for Words Bookshop is a narrative, not a suspense or thriller. Its story unfolds slowly but eloquently. If you don’t read any other book this summer, I would suggest this one as your must read. Loveday will stay with you long after the last page is turned.

My thanks to Netgalley, St. Martin’s Press and Stephanie Butland for the opportunity to read this incredible book.