It all started with the disappearance of Mattie Southern and the subsequent discovery of her body. Mattie left behind a sister, Sadie, who was devastated by her death. Their mother survived but she was a drug addict, neglectful at best, absent entirely at her worst. Sadie had done her best to raise Mattie on her own with their surrogate grandmother, May Beth Foster, occasionally looking after them.
West McCray, a podcast producer, heard of the murder of Mattie when in Colorado doing a special podcast about small towns in America. He overheard talk of Mattie’s body being discovered in the local gas station. A year to the day from Mattie’s murder, May Beth contacted McCray. Sadie had disappeared and they had found her vehicle with all her belongings in it. May Beth wanted McCray to investigate. Local law enforcement had declared Sadie a runaway, exhausted all known leads and gave up. Foster was not ready to give up and called McCray to help because she “couldn’t take another dead girl.”
The book is written from a dual point of view. There are transcripts from a podcast McCray made to document his search for Sadie and then excerpts from Sadie herself chronicling her mission of solving the mystery of Mattie’s death. The devices used to tell this story were unique and affective. Through the podcast transcripts, the author follows the story of Sadie’s disappearance and the process of trying to discover her actions and motives and hopefully find her. Sadie’s point of view is more focused on the story of Mattie’s murder. As the story of both girls unfolds the author gives the background of the tragic circumstances of their lives.
At the heart of this book’s lies important social issues such as addiction, child abandonment and child abuse brilliantly woven into Sadie and Mattie’s stories. It is a book that will break your heart but one that should not be ignored.