Thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! You’ve Reached Sam is out now!
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Magical Realism
Recommend to Others?: Yes
ABOUT: If I Stay meets Your Name in Dustin Thao’s You’ve Reached Sam, a heartfelt novel about love and loss and what it means to say goodbye.
How do you move forward when everything you love in on the line?
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. 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.
What would you do if you had a second chance at goodbye?
Filled with a diverse cast of characters, the heartache of first love and loss, and the kind of friends that can get you through anything, plus a touch of magic, You’ve Reached Sam will make an instant connection with anyone looking for a big emotional romance of a read.
My Review: An astonishing story! I really enjoyed You’ve Reached Sam.
Julie is having a difficult time coping with the recent death of her boyfriend, Sam. Miraculously, when she calls Sam’s phone number, he answers. They have an envious second chance to reconnect and say goodbye, but now Julie struggles even more to let go and live.
Readers will easily be able to connect with this story and empathize with what the characters are experiencing. Not only are characters grieving over Sam but also dealing with the stress of their last year of high school.
There are a myriad of reactions to Sam’s death. Angry, guilty, sad, lost, barely staying afloat. Grief brings some together and tears others apart, as seen between Julie and Sam’s cousin, Mika, and his best friend, Oliver.
I like the fantasy element of the story, of Julie being able to talk to Sam through their phones. It’s what initially piqued my interest in this story. There’s lots of questions about how this is possible, and I like how that’s kept open ended. It also makes sense for them to reconnect by phone based on events prior to the story’s beginning. Julie has to keep this a secret because there are certain (sometimes vague) rules involved and telling someone else could end their connection for good.
I love Sam’s character and appreciated him more and more as the story progressed. In life, Sam was friendly, compassionate and outgoing. He and Julie had a really strong bond. How they met was so adorable; Sam is such a romantic. In death, Sam is still that same kind, caring, loving person, looking out for the ones he left behind but also trying to grapple with being dead. Knowing his hopes and dreams, it’s especially tragic Sam died so young.
The goodbye when it finally came was bittersweet, but really well done by the author. Thao built the story up to a satisfying climatic moment.
You’ve Reached Sam is beautiful, heartbreaking, and feelings. The title and cover art are perfect! Julie and Sam’s relationship was great. I’m glad there were chapters that took place in the past so we could really see the depth of their love.
I highly recommend You’ve Reached Sam. It’s an all around lovely and emotional read.