You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao ~ 304 pages ~ published 11/9/2021 by Wednesday Books
Seventeen-year-old Julie has her future all planned out—move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes.
Heartbroken, Julie skips his funeral, throws out his things, and tries everything to forget him and the tragic way he died. But a message Sam left behind in her yearbook forces back memories. Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cellphone just to listen to his voicemail.
And Sam picks up the phone.
In a miraculous turn of events, Julie’s been given a second chance at goodbye. The connection is temporary. But hearing Sam’s voice makes her fall for him all over again, and with each call it becomes harder to let him go. However, keeping her otherworldly calls with Sam a secret isn’t easy, especially when Julie witnesses the suffering Sam’s family is going through. Unable to stand by the sidelines and watch their shared loved ones in pain, Julie is torn between spilling the truth about her calls with Sam and risking their connection and losing him forever.
What I Thought:
*I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for this ARC!*
I’ve got to be honest, the absolutely beautiful cover is what initially drew me to this book! The description, though, was what sold me on it. It was such an interesting concept, and I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen.
This novel is as beautiful as it is bittersweet. You go into it obviously knowing that it cannot end the way you would like for it to (that is with Sam and Julie going off to college and living their happily ever after). But, watching the journey that Julie, as well as Sam’s family and friends, goes on in the aftermath of his untimely death is very moving. You move through the stages of grief with each character in unique ways, and I thought this was very well done while being utterly heart-wrenching.
Getting to see the flashbacks of Sam and Julie’s relationship, from the beginning to the end, in the somewhat fantastical dreamscape of Julie’s mind was a brilliant way of showing their history to the reader. The prose of these sections was truly beautiful, and I found myself looking forward to them, which is not something I can always say for these kinds of flashbacks.
I loved getting to know all of these characters, and I still felt fulfilled at the end, even though you lose one of the main characters. For being Dustin Thao’s debut novel, I was very impressed. I am incredibly excited to see what he writes next!
I gave You’ve Reached Sam 4 Stars!
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Are you a fan of magical realism? Do you enjoy novels with a bittersweet twist to them? Tell me what other books like this you would recommend down in the comments!
Love and happy reading,