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Reviewed by Michelle Randall for Readers' Favorite
Young Sadie is blind and alone, left to live on the streets in an area called the Gutter. She is poorly equipped for life on the streets and doesn't understand the most basic ideas of the world. Fester literally runs into Sadie one day, and he is captivated by her beautiful blue eyes. He makes it his mission to keep an eye on her, and when he finds her almost frozen on the street, he takes her to his home. Once there, her lack of understanding of the world becomes even more apparent. Fester feels the need to protect her, as well as his friend Michael and his sister Chloe, who all live together. What follows is Jayelle Cochran's amazingly beautiful and poignant story of love and family, abuse and neglect, fear and trust. This is all wrapped into a supernatural war between regular humans and those with special powers that Sadie mistakenly believes is all her fault. Sadie's War is a journey of learning and adventure.
Sadie's War, as she thinks it is all her fault, is driven by one action. The fierce need to protect her from harm that both Michael and Fester feel. Sadie has no ability to trust, but slowly learns that all the lessons in her life were wrong, and that she can trust people. Although the two main characters, Sadie and Fester, have suffered terrible physical and mental abuse at the hands of their parents, the abuse is not detailed and is only alluded to. Jayelle Cochran does a wonderful job of telling this remarkable story without terrorizing the reader. The fear and love that the characters feel come through in the book so vividly it had me crying and laughing all throughout the book. Even given the topics, this would still be a good book for young adults, with some parental guidance for any questions they might have. I found it to be a story of hope and love, of life after tragedy, and what a family can provide if you allow it. Amazingly poignant.