Sadie by Courtney Summers

Note:  There is a real podcast available for download which takes uses parts of the book to construct a narrative of Sadie and Mattie’s stories.  It is called The Girls.  (While the podcast is taken from the novel, the episode numbers and names do not match each other.)

Discussion Questions:

  1. Even though this is a work of fiction, there is a real podcast you can download which connects to the book.  Did anyone download and listen to “The Girls” real podcast? How did that affect your reading?
  2. Why do you think podcasts and true crime has become so popular in our culture today?
  3. Sadie is written from differing perspectives (hers and West’s).  What do you think this adds or detracts from the storyline?
  4. Throughout Sadie’s travels, we are given specific details about each “small town” she travels to: (Cold Creek “the sheer amount of space is humbling, almost divine.  It’s hard to imagine feeling trapped here. But most people do” (p. 3), Montgomery “Even in the dark, Montgomery is beautiful. I have no choice but to hate it.  It’s the set of a movie brought to life” (p. 99), Langford – “Bluebird Motel… it’s run-down, badly in need of a new siding, a new roof… new everything” (p. 193), and Fairfield) Why is it important for us to understand these different types of small towns?  What role does the town play in this text?
  5. What do you think Sadie’s mental state was like?  Do you believe her to be altered in some way? Do we think that she had a concussion as West suspects after speaking with Ellis?
  6. What is your view of May Beth?  How does she function in the lives of the girls and within the story?
  7. Perspective is a big deal in this novel. Sadie perceives her mother as never liking her. Does our view of Claire change over time? (yes, “I made you” (p. 153) takes on new meaning at the end of the novel.) –  “You made me” p. 264
  8. Sadie says, “I always forget fear is a conquerable thing but I learn it over and over again and that, I guess, is better than never learning it” (p. 33).  Can you relate?
  9. Page 39, May Beth brings up her displeasure in teachers.  West interviews a former teacher of Sadie. Did the educational system fail Sadie or was it a collection of factors?
  10. May Beth tells that, “Sadie always covered for Claire, lied for her, even. Made sure Mattie understood Claire was sick…” (p. 40).  How do we feel about Sadie’s sheltering of Mattie? – good or bad? What is necessary?
    • Why was the postcard important?  Could the narrative existed without it?
  11. Marlee Singer plays a small yet important role.  Do we think if she had spoken to West sooner, he would have found Sadie?  (p. 136 – “I’m telling you I never met her and if she was around here looking for me, I don’t know a … thing about it” (p. 136).
    • Do you think her toddler (Breckin) is Keith’s?  
    • What do we think about her tattoo, “a knife surrounded by flowers” (p. 60)?
  12. Sadie says, “I want to live my life on the internet.  Everything is perfect there” (p. 76) She stalks Silas Baker’s children to meeting up with them to get to Keith.  What does social media say about us today?
  13. Silas Baker (an older Ken doll) appears to have it all.  What does this say about appearances not always being reality?
  14. How did Sadie know it was Keith who came back to kill Mattie?
  15. What happened to Keith’s trophies?
  16. What made Sadie trust Javier, Cat, and Ellis when she didn’t trust others?
  17. Why are Cat Mather (p. 157) and Amanda’s daughter (the last of Keith’s/Christopher’s victims) the only people Sadie gives her real name?
  18. Sadie turns off West McCray’s radio voice, what would have changed if she had heard him?
  19. Throughout the novel, Sadie has intense flashbacks.  Why were these uses? (p. 130, 196)
  20. When Ellis learns the truth about Darren/Keith, Sadie notes, “I watch him age” (p. 229).  What does learning the truth about people we thought we knew- do to us.
  21. Page 250, “Like all real monsters, he hides in plain sight.” What can you relate to this quote?
  22. Out of all the people who Sadie comes across in her journey, which person (or people) do you think has the most effect on her? And who do you think Sadie affected the most; why? Question from Lit Lovers.
  23. West struggles with this assignment, “Girls go missing all the time. And ignorance is bliss.  I didn’t want this story because I was afraid of what I wouldn’t find and I was afraid of what I would… I still am” (p. 307).  Why did West follow the Sadie story even when he didn’t want to? – motivation
  24. What do you think Sadie would say to West if they ever met in person? Do you think she’d like him? Would she trust him with her story? (Question from Lit Lovers.)
  25. The novel ends with “And Sadie, if you’re out there, please let me know.  Because I can’t take another dead girl” (p. 308). Where do you think Sadie is?

Recipes:

Meatloaf Cupcakes  

French Fry and Onion Ring Bar: Spicy Ketchup, Easy Cane’s Sauce, Garlic Aioli

Apple Pie

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