“I can’t take another dead girl.” That’s why May Beth Foster asks radio reporter West McCray to help find 19-year-old Sadie, May Beth’s trailer park neighbor and honorary granddaughter. Sadie took off from her home in Cold Creek, Colo., when Mattie, the 13-year-old sister she practically raised, was murdered. (Their mother, an addict whose boyfriends came and went, is absent.) Despite a stutter that’s gotten her teased and bullied, Sadie is brave unto recklessness, and she won’t rest until she finds the man she thinks killed her sister. West, initially reluctant to get involved, lets May Beth’s grief and his boss’s urging to start a podcast goad him into starting the search for Sadie. The resulting true-crime podcast alternates with Sadie’s first-person narration from the road, West’s knowledge usually lagging behind what readers know from traveling with the driven, grieving Sadie. Initially distracting, the podcast becomes an effective way to build out backstory and let myriad characters have their say. The result is a taut, suspenseful book about abuse and power that feels personal, as if Summers (All the Rage), like May Beth and West, can’t take one more dead or abused girl. Readers may well feel similarly. Ages 13–up. Agent: Amy Tipton, FinePrint. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/06/2018 Release date: 09/04/2018 Genre: Children's
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