You’ve Reached Sam By Dustin Thao

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You’ve Reached Sam: A Novel By Dustin Thao

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Book/Novel Author: Dustin Thao

Book/Novel Title: You’ve Reached Sam

 

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An Instant New York Times Bestseller!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.Seventeen-year-old Julie Clarke 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 belongings, and tries everything to forget him. But a message Sam left behind in her yearbook forces memories to return. Desperate to hear him one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cell phone just to listen to his voice mail recording. And Sam picks up the phone.The connection is temporary. But hearing Sam’s voice makes Julie fall for him all over again and with each call, it becomes harder to let him go.What would you do if you had a second chance at goodbye?A 2021 Kids’ Indie Next List SelectionA Cosmo.com Best YA Book Of 2021A Buzzfeed Best Book Of NovemberA Goodreads Most Anticipated Book
I fully went into in knowing that I would burst into tears, especially from what I was seeing from reviews. While I did not cry many tears like I did with Song of Achilles or A Mark on My Soul, it was still a captivating story that kept me wanting more. Dustin Thao does such a good job with crafting an interesting and complex character like Julie and handles what she is struggling with very well. I honestly did not like Julie at the beginning, but after getting to know her, I really loved her character and the way that she turned out in the end. I do not want to say much about this story without spoiling it, but it was such a worth it read. I cannot wait to see what else Dustin Thao does next!
I’ll start with: a concept is not a plot. Rarely does it have enough juice to hold up a story, let alone a novel. This book is juiceless. I will say I was brought to tears by the end of the prologue. Though the synopsis makes it clear that this book centers around death and dealing with the loss of a significant other, I was not expecting a full-blown love story played out over the span of a chapter. But that is where my attachment ended. There are never any answers given. The main character doesn’t change from start to finish. This book reads as a diary of daily doings colored by grief and the presence of a paranormal element. It feels as if the author had ideas for many possible roads this book could go, chose to include them all, and doesn’t resolve any of them. I was waiting for growth, for depth, for the relatability that comes with mutual loss. I received none of that. My only feeling as I turned the last page was frustration that I had stuck it out this long for absolutely no pay out. I’m sure this book might resonate with the proper reader, but this reader requires a whole lot more development that what this story provides.

This book takes you on an emotional journey through loss. In this story, Julie the main character, traverses the tragic heartbreaking loss of her boyfriend, Sam. I liked the magical realism in this book. The specific idea of “what if” is fascinating. We all have someone we’d love to be able to talk to, hear their voice, share in their thoughts, and just let them know how much we love them one last time. What if we had the opportunity? The chance to say one last goodbye, to obtain closure, and have more peace when those we love are ripped from us too soon. We get to experience this with Julie when she gets the chance to talk to Sam again. Overall I enjoyed this book, but I didn’t love it like I thought I would. There were many times I was frustrated with Julie and some of her actions. However, I understand what the author was trying to convey and the message came across. Everyone travels the road of grief differently. Everyone has their own path. Everyone expresses, processes, and internalizes sorrow and grief in their individual way. I would absolutely pick up future books by Dustin Thao because his writing is captivating. Even though it does include an epilogue, the ending is a bit abrupt for me. Still, it is a lovely and moving debut by this author. Four solid stars.

Predictable.. no background explanation of how they can talk to each other and how it work, besides saying they have a stronger connection than to anyone.

 

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