Sadie By Courtney Summers

Title: Sadie

Author: Courtney Summers

Publisher: Wednesday Books

First Published: 4th September 2018

Audiobook Narrator: Full Cast

Blurb:

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.

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 meager 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.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page. (From Goodreads, 11th March 2019)

Review:

First things first – GET the audiobook of this novel! It is fantastic! One of the best audiobooks I have listened to – this is due to the full cast and the novel being told through podcasts, the audiobook just brings this novel to life!

Sadie is a story told in multiple perspectives. We have Sadie herself who has left her home to find the man who killed her sister. We see her work through clues to find the man responsible for her sisters death. In doing so Sadie comes across multiple situations blocking her from achieving her goal.

The next perspective comes from West McCray, who develops a podcast about disappearances and unsolved crimes. West undertakes interviews with MayBeth, Sadie’s for all intents and purposes, foster grandmother. We hear about Sadie as a child and her relationships with her mother and sister. West tried to get clues to where Sadie might have gone, and soon begins to follow the trail Sadie has left behind. It is interesting because we hear the story through interviews and also see what Sadie leaves behind from her encounters.

This is a novel that draws you into the mystery, it is not a complex mystery but it would be a good novel for those wanting to try a young adult crime novel for the first time. It takes a look at human relationships and the need to find justice in the world. This is a novel that deals with some hard topics and therefore I will highlight the triggers of abuse, drug abuse and violence here. It is not graphic but it could be a trigger for some. Sadie also has a stutter, but the author does a fantastic job of making this just one attribute of Sadie and not a focus. Sadie is definitely a multi-dimensional character and has dealt with a lot in her young life. Sadie may not always do the right things but you are rooting for her throughout this novel.

I think what I most enjoyed about this novel is the unique way it was told, and this was, as I have already said, brought to life by the audiobook. Sadie is a flawed character, she does things that are not always right but they are done for the right reasons. Trouble seems to always come her way but she keeps going despite this.

Sadie is a novel that will keep you wanting more and is a fast read, but if you take anything from this review it is that you should give the audiobook a try. It is worth it, I promise.

4 out of 5 stars.

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If You Find Me By Emily Murdoch

Title: If You Find Me

Author: Emily Murdoch

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Expected Publication Date: 26th March 2013

Blurb:

There are some things you can’t leave behind…

A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down (From Goodreads, 11th March 2013)

Review:

If You Find Me reminded me of Room By Emma Donoghue but only really in the overriding topic – children being hidden away from society. Carey was taken by her mother when she was young and taken away to live in the forest. Now fourteen she looks after her little sister Jenessa. Jenessa has never been in the ‘real world’ and does not speak. After her mother being away for longer than usual both Jenessa and Carey are surprised when a man and women appear at their camp site. Carey’s father has found them and the adventure into the real world is beginning. Carey does not know if she should believe what her mother said about her father – that she saved her from him. And so we journey into the adjustments both her fathers family and Jenessa and Carey must make.

This is an exciting novel. It captures you from the beginning. Fast paced then dealing with the difficulties of adjusting to the new life Carey is now leading. Carey is the protagonist and we see the world from her eyes. We begin to understand the complexities of growing up in the forest away from society and being plucked out and thrown back into society. Lets us understand the mixed feelings that comes so often in abuse cases. I would highly recommend this novel to young adults, and view it as the young adults version of Room By Emma Donoghue.

4 out of 5

Ant Then I Thought I Was a Fish By Peter Welsh

Title: And Then I Thought I Was a Fish

Author: Peter Welsh

Publisher: Self Published

UK Publication Date: 1st January 2013

Blurb:

PATIENT NAME: Peter Hunt Welch SEX: M ADMIT DATE: 10/18/2000 DOB: 02/28/1980 HISTORY OF PRESENTING ILLNESS: The patient was a fairly poor historian, appearing unable to provide a coherent description of the events preceding his current hospitalization. In a rather vague and disorganized manner, he acknowledged the presence of persecutory concerns. He reported unusual experiences like having seen the earth and the bottom of the sea. In the emergency room, he reported concerns that he might have killed a buddy of his and that he could take a friend’s soul from his body. He also reported his ability to be in contact with God. Initially he denied any alcohol or drug use. Later on, he admitted having had LSD on several occasions. He described his trips as traveling the world and touching things. He also acknowledged the use of heroin, crack cocaine, mushrooms, ecstasy, and speed, but he was not able to provide more details. THIS REPORT IS STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL. Redisclosure is prohibited by law. NOTE: This information has been disclosed to you from records whose confidentiality is protected by federal law. Federal regulations (42CFR part 2) prohibit you from making any further disclosure of it without the specific written consent of the person to whom it pertains, or as otherwise permitted by such regulations. A general authorization for the release of medical or other information is NOT sufficient for this purpose. PERMISSION REQUEST: I would like to ask myself if it’s okay to put my medical records in a book to entertain total strangers. I need explicit permission. PERMISSION APPROVAL: Because of our tautological relationship, I hereby explicitly grant myself the right to publish this information in whatever form I please. (From Amazon.co.uk, 13th February 2013)
Review:
Okay, so I got this book after seeing it was a Kindle Freebie for a day or so and with my interest in mental health was interested to see this authors take on his experience. Unlike many of the books I have read about mental illness the author has only had one instance of serious mental illness, compared to the recurring problems many people are faced with. Ultimately he has concluded that his illness was to do with the drugs he took at the time and his lifestyle which tipped him over the edge.
This is a well written book, which captures the bizarre adventure Peter takes and his view of the experience compared to what nurses or doctors wrote while his was in a psychiatric ward. It shows the destruction drugs can cause without being a book to chastise those who take them on a recreational basis. Linked in with his experience there is some academic background to why he may have responded the way he did, but sometimes I felt these were given as far too clear cut and established then they are in reality.
I think the important thing I got from this novel is that it is an honest retelling of an experience which influence the authors life and is one which is worth reading. After the main text is other peoples stories, I did not go on to read these, but will return to them at a later date. They give response of others to the authors experience, questions the author has been asked via his website and their opinions.
An interesting read and one which I think many of those who dabbled in drugs would find interesting, or those with an interest in mental health.
3.5 out of 5

Overly Medicated By Shaun Lewisham

Title: Overly Medicated

Author: Shaun Lewisham

Publisher: Shaun Lewisham Enterprises

UK Publication Date: 1 edition (10 Dec 2011)

Blurb:

Welcome to ‘Overly Medicated’: A collision Between One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Shameless.

Overly Medicated is a social biography based on my life story and is set against the backdrop of the West Midlands. It is set over a period of three decades starting in 1987 and uses Gary Walker as its feature character. The book follows Walkers path through life from hooligan to husband, his battles against drug addiction and mental illness and his attempts to escape the cobwebs of his tortured past. Overly Medicated recounts the story of a man scarred from the break up of his marriage, resulting in him raising their only daughter as a single parent. His own attempted murder and the termination of his unborn child. Walker finally hits rock bottom and is admitted onto a psychiatric unit after a failed suicide attempt. Overly Medicated details his fight back from depression and addiction and recounts his pathway to becoming a Registered Psychiatric Nurse and the manager of a Psychiatric Rehabilitation Home. It exposes the hypocrisy encased in the mental health system and tells the story from both sides of the divide.

Overly Medicated is a story of love, triumph, violence, drug and alcohol addiction, fortitude and friendship. It contains a social narrative on Britain via the author’s individual standpoint and reflects on his political and social development. The book is aimed at making the reader, laugh, cry and ruminate over the experiences of one troubled man. This book is sad, funny, honest and true. Overly Medicated is a rollercoaster of contrasting emotions; I hope you enjoy the ride. (From Amazon.co.uk, 22nd January 2013)

Review:

‘Overly Medicated’ is a book based on the authors life and this shines through the writing. All characters have the depth of reality and you get a good understanding of the times, the politics and the life that the main character – Gary Walker – leads. It is a story of ups and downs. Mistakes, achievements, met by more mistakes and yet more achievements. You want to scream at Gary when he starts on yet another destructive path, then pat him on the back when he achieves what would have seemed impossible.

For a female reading this book the football ‘hooliganism’ focus at the beginning is a bit off putting and I think it is more a novel for the males in this sense. But you are dealing with a persons life. And the further through you get the more you understand Gary’s behavior and why he does the things he does.

The novel is eloquently written and you can tell that the author, though having experienced the life of his main character, was always an intelligent men with a true understanding of language.

It is a novel I would urge mental health students and staff to read. Gary’s idea of care is spot on. He learns from his experience of being in treatment the failings of the system and how to combat that. A holistic approach – which many of us will study but not practice.

This is a journey – a rather eventful journey in that. But it is life and life is just that – a sequence of ups and downs. A novel written with understanding, insight and skill.

A read for all interested in mental illness, alcoholism, crime and drug use. Do not be put of with the male angle because there is a lot in this book which will aid your understanding of the above issues.

A 4 out of 5.

Junk By Melvin Burgess

Junk is a novel that got a lot of publicity when it came out and was a novel which my school used to get more reluctant readers to read and also a way to engage those classes which were deemed ‘problem classes’.

I never picked up Junk until my school days were far behind me and now understand why my school used it the way it did.

Junk is a young adult novel which shows the true nature of drug use and life on the streets. It explains, without elaboration, the downward spiral as the characters leave home and delve into a life ruled by heroin.

A fast paced novel which does not pull cotton wool over the eyes of the readers and looks at both the good and the bad of heroin use.

This is a novel which all teens should read – both those at risk or drug use, homelessness, pregnancy and abuse, and those who these issues do not really affect. Both groups can learn a lot. Understanding, warning, options, risks, reality.Also a novel that adults should read, may will be shocked but it may make you understand some of the reasons behind drug use and the factors that lead people to and and the factors which make it near impossible to escape.

Some young readers may be put off at the thickness of the novel, but don’t be. The pace of this book allows you to get through it very quickly. The novel is written from two view points and thus gives a fuller understanding of different experiences with heroin.

I am going to give this novel a 4 out of 5 because it is very interesting, engaging and brings true grittiness to the young adult genre.