Author: Courtney Summers

Release Day Feature: Sadie by Courtney Summers

September 4, 2018 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2018, Release Day Feature, YA 4 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Release Day Feature: Sadie by Courtney SummersSadie by Courtney Summers
Published by Wednesday Books on September 4, 2018
Pages: 320
Genres: Contemporary
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: This is Not a Test, All the Rage

five-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.

About Courtney Summers

Courtney Summers was born in Belleville, Ontario, Canada in 1986 and currently resides in a small town not far from there. At age 14, and with her parents' blessing, Courtney dropped out of high school to pursue her education independently. At age 18, she wrote her first novel and never looked back. Her first book, Cracked Up to Be, was published in 2008, when she was 22. To date, she has authored five novels and is best known for her unapologetic, difficult female protagonists. In 2016, Courtney was named one of Flare Magazine's 60 under 30.

“Sometimes I don’t know what I miss more; everything I’ve lost or everything I never had.”.

When Sadie’s 13-year-old sister Mattie is murdered and left in an apple orchard, Sadie is determined to take on the responsibility of her death just as she took on the responsibility of keeping her alive. Their mother, Claire, was a drug addict and never cared for the girls the way they should have been and for years now, Sadie has been the one to care for Mattie and to make sure that life didn’t end up being nearly as bad as it could have been. And then one day Claire disappeared. She sent a postcard 3 months later from Los Angeles, addressed only to Mattie, and from that point on Mattie was convinced that the girls had to find their mother but Sadie knew that was impossible for so many reasons. And then one day Mattie got into a truck headed to California and she was next found in an apple orchard.

“Mattie never would’ve done something like that if she’d never got that postcard. I know it haunted Sadie and I know … I know if Sadie’s out there right now, it’s still haunting her.”

Courtney Summers writes some of the most gritty and uncompromising stories that manage to get under your skin with their unrelenting realism. Sadie was such a difficult yet mesmerizing read that completely captured my attention until the final page. This story is a brilliant combination of a coming of age/gritty crime mystery and podcasts which have become so incredibly popular in this day and age. Despite the audio aspects of podcasts, this book worked just as brilliantly in print. Sadie’s chapters are told in first-person narration as she leaves her small town of Cold Creek, Colorado in search of the man she believes is responsible for the death of her sister. Sadie’s thoughts are imbued with a single-minded determination to avenge her sister despite her own harrowing backstory. Her story is full of retrospection on everything that transpired and how it led up to the moment she finds herself in. She never berates herself for things that occurred, knowing that doing so won’t change anything, but only continue walking the dark path of revenge she’s set herself on.

Mixed into Sadie’s story, are transcripts from the (fictional) podcast The Girls hosted by radio reporter West McCray who is investigating Sadie’s disappearance. McCray’s investigation manages to fill in the blanks of Sadie’s story as he follows the evidence she left in her wake. These transcripts also served to make Sadie and Mattie’s stories feel both personal and factual in a way that was almost unsettling. It reads much like any true crime podcast where McCray discusses his investigation, the evidence he uncovers, and the interviews he conducts. There are six episodes in total and they can be listened to before or after the book’s release, but only the book will include Sadie’s first-person accounting. Either way, it’s definitely worth a listen. Whoever came up with the concept to actually produce the podcast in correlation with the book’s release is a genius. You can listen to the first episode embedded in this post below with the other episodes available on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher.

Sadie is a haunting yet must-read thriller for readers of all ages that tells the empowering story of a ‘victim’ who refuses to conform to the label.

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Early Review – All the Rage by Courtney Summers

February 27, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015, YA 3 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – All the Rage by Courtney SummersAll the Rage by Courtney Summers
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on April 14th 2015
Pages: 336
Genres: Abuse, Mystery, Realistic YA Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: This is Not a Test, Sadie

four-stars

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now—but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear,

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, Courtney Summers' new novel All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women in a culture that refuses to protect them.

‘…they’d think of me the way they think of me now, think of it as some kind of natural conclusion to my story, sad, maybe, deserved it, well no, of course no one does, but. That girl. You can see it. It’s written on her.’

Romy Grey lives on the “wrong side” of a small town where everybody knows everybody. She’s the girl that no one trusts, the type of girl that everybody expects to be nothing but trouble. When she’s raped at a party and accuses the sheriff’s son of the attack, she quickly loses her best friend and becomes the focus of harassment from every person in her town. Romy lives as inconspicuous as she can from that day on but when a local girl goes missing in addition to news of an attack similar to Romy’s, she realizes she can’t keep quiet anymore.

I devoured this book in a single day. I couldn’t tear my eyes away even if I wanted to. This book, guys, encompasses everything that is wrong with this society. Where a woman can accuse a man of abuse and not for a second will they believe her, simply because the man has always been considered an upstanding member of the community. Because naturally, the facade we put on for the public is completely our true selves and can immediately absolve someone of any accusations. This was a terrifyingly realistic account of the aftermath of rape, of small town mentality, the immediate stereotypes that get doled out and how truly horrid people can be to one another.

‘I rest my middle finger across my lips; red on red, the most subtle way I can tell him to fuck himself because I’m not stupid enough to say it out loud in a world that’s his fan club.’

The writing was course and raw but had a finesse to it that completely encapsulated the expected horror of the situation. The story did get a little jumbled when it switches between “Now” and “Two Weeks Before” and it was difficult at first to re-sort the sequence of events in your mind but once you realize what transpired you’ll want to go back to the beginning with a fresh, knowledgeable look at it all. Summers is unflinching in her determination to accurately represent all that’s wrong with rape culture and subsequent victim blaming and while it was a painful story to read, it’s one incapable of being forgotten.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson {Purchase}
Dare Me by Megan Abbott {Purchase}

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Early Review – This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

January 24, 2012 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2012, YA 0 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – This is Not a Test by Courtney SummersThis is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on June 19th 2012
Pages: 337
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: All the Rage, Sadie

two-half-stars

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self.

To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live.

But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside.

When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

‘The radio crackles the prerecorded voice of that woman at us over and over…
‘This is not a test. Listen closely. This is not a test.’
But I think she’s wrong. I think this is a test.
It has to be.’

The Storyline
‘This is not a Test’ includes a group of sorrowful teenagers trying to survive (some of them at least) and a post-apocalyptic world full of zombies.

Sloane Price has survived the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. She’s joined up with 5 other kids she went to school with and they are all hiding out in their old high school, trying to survive. Except Sloane never intended on being alive for very much longer. Ever since her sister Lily abandoned her she hasn’t been the same and lacks any sort of will to live. She escaped from the beatings their father inflicted on them both, and didn’t take Sloane with her. Being surrounded by kids who want more than anything to live makes her feel like an outcast as she continues to search for her way out so that she’s finally ‘free’.

Thoughts
I am a huge fan of zombie novels, and there’s certainly no ‘right’ way to do them but with most zombie novels I’ve found that I particularly enjoy the world building aspect and finding out how the zombies came to be. If it’s lacking in world building it better have a super fabulous story to focus on instead. The world-building aspect isn’t explained in this story and it came off feeling like a normal teenage angst ridden story, just with zombies thrown in as secondary characters, rather them being an actual part of the story. It’s almost like the author decided on two genres but forgot to mix them well enough so that they were good and blended.

I had a hard time liking the characters. These were all high school kids, hiding out in a high school, still playing high school games. I kept waiting for them to toughen up, to harden from what has happened to them, but it just didn’t happen. Plus? The zombie action was quite minimal for my liking.

The ending was bleak, brutal, but unsatisfactory; more than likely just simply due to my personal preferences.. I can see how this story will be liked by many, it just wasn’t overall exactly what I had anticipated.

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