Sadie’s War: Jayelle Cochran
There are some wars that a fought on the battlefield with weapons, artillery and in combat. Other wars might be fought in the schoolyard as gangs take over and fight for power and territory. But, what about a war that someone fights within himself or herself when the world is dark to them and the people that surround her cannot be trusted? What happens when parents inflict pain on a young girl telling her that she must be punished for her wrong doings leaving her permanently scarred and psychologically impaired? Sadie is a young teen that has never experienced the outside world in the way other teens do today. Cast aside by her parents and forced to live on the streets, Sadie learns many hard lessons when dealing with people and the outside world. Parents that required her to submit to things that are unspeakable, focusing on what they claim are the rules that she must live by you meet her as she moves about in a place she calls Downtown hoping to stay below the radar of others and just survive. But, Sadie encounters many cruelties and many people who push her aside and threaten her safety until someone special comes along. Fester is a young man whose past might be checkered but whose spirit and heart are made of gold. Calling him the food man at first she questions why he would want to bring her food and make sure that she did not starve. Fighting her inner most thoughts and fears her own war for survival began the day she was born and the one she is fighting right now. Fester brings her food but she does not understand why he does not ask for anything in return. Things are not free and she was taught that debts had better be paid or something bad will happen. Trust comes hard to her but the cold weather sets in and what happens next will help readers understand why we need to protect those that are homeless, create someway for them to have shelter and find it in our hearts to realize that they are people too. But, Sadie has an added handicap. She is blind and walks with a cane in order to navigate the streets. Sadie is strong willed and fearful and when Fester finds her half frozen and riddled with a high fever its takes a lot out of him to convince her to come and stay with him.
Michael and Fester live together along with Michael’s nine-year-old sister Chloe. What we learn about these men will enlighten you to more about Sadie and the reason why they provided her with a shelter and how they are all fighting not just the war of survival but another one too.
Fester and Michael are both fighting wars of their own within themselves and outwardly. Both have the same fear of a woman named Sal. Michael remembering, as Sadie does, the cruelties done to him by her as Sadie recalls what her parents did to her to teach her lessons she never realized were wrong. Each day is a struggle for all three and Chloe who responds and reacts to the emotional upheaval of others and feels their pain and sorrow. Sadie feels that she is never right and all she does is wrong and often wants to leave the safety net of her new home and live on the street not wanting to owe these two men any more debt. “Nothing is free,” “Everything comes with a price.” Sad way to think and to live but many do. But, one wall down the street of a place called Gutter in the downtown area of this town would change it all in a negative way. While going to lunch with Michael and Fester something happens and they need to fight off attackers. Using her ability to control the wind, Michael’s to create lightning they both fend off their attackers but not before the cameras video it all. Three dead and one wounded did anyone see they were just defending themselves? Would the government sent the PSI after them to investigate? How would they get help and how would they survive?
A dangerous woman named Sal is connected to both Michael and Fester and her attempt to seduce Sadie did not work at first. With the men and Chloe in danger and blaming herself for all that went wrong what Sadie does will endear to her even more as she proves not only her loyalty to Fester but also her love. Things heat up as Fester disappears doing something for Sal leaving Sadie alone with both Michael and Chloe. But, Michael’s moods are erratic, his temper flies. Not violent yet equally as angry with his words Sadie feels his wrath, hopes that it won’t affect Chloe and still within her own mind feels the world would be better off without her. Sadie’s War is constant and as she reveals something about her past her quest to help Fester strengthens, protect Chloe and free someone special from enduring what she did from her parents. Child abuse, physical abuse and sexual demands riddled her life before meeting Fester as her parents taught her harsh lessons in life and left her an empty shell at times. Even leaving her to live on the streets pretending it was for her own good, proved false when she learned the words that appear on the sign she held following her mother’s rules to get paid different than what she thought. Blatantly telling the world she needed money for food because she was blind, it took her time to believe what Michael tells her about what the sign really said.
Sadie suffers many wars within her own mind before she can come to terms with her past and deal with it in the present. The world has treated her cruelly and she does not know how to accept kindness and understanding from others. Leary of both Fester and Michael thinking they have an ulterior motive for wanting to help her. Sadie is tormented and cannot and will not focus and talk about her past. She wants it left where it belongs in the past. But the second war is equally as powerful as the supernaturals fight the government in order to survive.
Added in the author various the dialogue used to distinguish the characters as we hear Sadie speak and listen to the words of Michael, Chloe and Fester embracing a harsh and more crass dialogue used by street gangs or those living in tough neighborhoods. Yet the use of swear words fits the story, the powers that both Sadie and Michael employ quite exciting as they both battle together to survive. Sadie is innocent and naïve in many ways and when it comes to many of life’s
Alone, blind and homeless Sadie needs to fight not only her inner fears but also the bitter cold outside. Although she is relatively safe with Fester her insecurities and fears are always in the forefront and her need to feel independent on top. Not wanting to feel beholden to anyone she makes sure that she finds a task to do to pay her own way and her debts.
Sadie refuses to allow anyone into her heart, her past and finds it difficult at times dealing with the present. Both Michael and Fester want to truly ease her pain but how? Every tear, every heartache is felt by Chloe whose supernatural power is empathy. When placed in danger they were sent to a safe house but something happens and they had to move again. Learning more about her powers Sadie discovers that someone she loves is very close to her when they are moved to an underground compound. What Sadie learns about herself might make her realize that she is as she states not “Wrong,” and that someday she will be Clear and True like everyone else. When the truth about what she endured is spoken and the words flood out what happens will surprise readers as the leader of compound has two difficult decisions to make. Author Jayelle Cochran brings to light what happens when someone is abused both mentally and physically brainwashed and forced to submit to the tortures inflicted upon her thinking she has no self worth. What will be the final fate of all four friends that are now family? What happens when she is reunited with someone she loves? Will they remain together or will something or someone split them up? The answers will come when the author pens the second in the Supernatural Uprising Novel Series.
Sadie represents anyone that has ever been abused, hit, browbeaten and made to feel unworthy. Sadie fights many inner battles within herself yet tries to understand and make others understand that she is capable of doing things for herself and not helpless. This is not about being blind or not being able to see. It is about developing self-worth, self-esteem and trust. Each character has many wars that they are fighting within themselves. Michael remembers the pain inflicted upon him. Fester what he endured with Sal and Sadie and Chloe dealing with their emotions and how they affect others. Always saying she is sorry and does not belong when will Sadie understand that Fester, Michael and Chloe just want her to KEEP WITH THEM. A powerful novel and a must read for young teens, YA’s, guidance counselors, family counselors, discussion groups, parents and adults.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer