Cover Image: You've Reached Sam

You've Reached Sam

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Member Reviews

You’ve Reached Sam seemed like the kind of book that would rip my heart out and have me sobbing by the end. But I was wrong. This YA contemporary had all the makings of a good emotional read that would break you. But it ruins that by giving you a very unlikeable MC. I immediately disliked Julie, I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt since she was grieving. But the flashbacks didn’t help her. It was very frustrating as a reader trying to connect with a character who frustrates you so much. I also would have liked to know more about the phone calls. WHY and HOW would have been some pretty good questions to answer. I don’t like not fully understanding a big part of the plot.  While I didn’t care for Julie, I did like Sam. We don’t get a lot of him, but I did like what I saw. The romance in the flashbacks was a bit cheesy, but nothing wrong with a bit of cheesy love. I just wish their relationship was a bit better developed so that maybe I could have been a bit more emotionally invested. Overall, I do really wish I liked this one more. I thought going into it that I was going to love it. Bit disappointed that I didn’t.
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Absolutely beautiful and absolutely heart breaking. There were moments that broke my heart and I said “nothing can top this” but then something did and I was crying and reaching for the tissues all over again. This story will stick with me for a long time.
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This book was so wholesome and emotional. I loved our characters, especially Sam. This is a young adult contemporary romance but it’s so deep. It goes into grief. I loved this audiobook and the narrator, I believe it was so well done.
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This was a heartfelt read. A great novel discussing grief and how it can differ for different people. The characters were ok, I didn't feel like some of them were super amazing but I liked them emough. All of the hype for this book on TikTok and Instagram made me really think I would fall in love with this book but it fell a little flat for me. It wasn't bad just not as good as I hoped it would be.
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i know this book has been praised thoroughly and publicly but i couldn’t get invested in it. it felt shallow despite tackling heavy subject matter.
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I really wanted to love this book.
Love, loss, depression and finally, coming back from all of it on top. The best part, you get to say your good bye. Something many of us who have experienced loss were not so lucky to have.

I was eager to dive into this. I think we can all agree that everyone is entitled to handle grief in a way that helps them cope with their loss (provided it doesn’t border on hurting themselves).

Seemingly Julie’s (Main Character) main focus is her own emotional turmoil. Despite the fact that Sam’s death has impacted everyone around her. Julie has cut off all of their friends from school, even Sam’s own family whom she was once close to. She is completely withdrawn and skips Sam’s funeral. Never reaching out to anyone. In the beginning it’s easy to feel a surge of sympathy for her. She lost her boyfriend. Its not as if they broke up. He’s gone forever. Her grief is heavy and seemingly endless. For this I excused her selfishness. I tried to give her and the book ample time to begin sorting things out. After all that’s what character growth is right?

When it came to Sam (our other Main Character) I also felt no emotional connection. Maybe if there had been more………..just more. While Thao does give us occasional flashbacks between the two main characters, it wasn’t enough. There wasn’t enough history. There wasn’t enough of their relationship together.
However as the book progresses you begin to see more into how Sam is feeling. Being the one who’s gone, the one who will never be able to fill out college applications. Never again pick up a guitar or write music. Never hang out with his friends again.
To that Thao did a great job opening my eyes to the idea that those who are gone may also feel regret/remorse at a life left behind. (If we were able to ask them of course.)

In the end it was refreshing to see how Julie finally began to move on. Reconnecting with others. Finding new ways to celebrate Sam’s life while creatively letting go of her grief little by little. We also see Thoa take Julie’s special connection with Sam to a new level. Though it doesn’t seem to really go anywhere.

Nankani’s narration was matched evenly with the tone of the book. She brings Julie’s emotions (and Sam’s!) into the story. Weaving together a beautiful telling.
I love what the author was trying to do here. Truly. Unfortunately there was very little that I was able to connect with. The book wasn’t strong enough to entice genuine emotions. Nothing about this book was “tear jerking.”
It must be said that the cover art is absolutely beautiful. It feels like a perfect embodiment to Sam and Julie’s connection. Rather how it was supposed to be. To the hurt they feel in their hearts and the admiration they feel for each other.
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MY HEART

It was everything I wanted. I enjoyed the plot, characters, and setting. It was a little slow for me in the middle but the end pulled on my heartstrings. 

If you’re in the mood to cry, this one is for you.
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3.5 stars

Well this was as sweet and heartbreaking as it was slooooow and angsty 

If you like Asian culture, character driven, young adult, contemporary romance, grief/afterlife/ghost/paranormal stories, and VERY SAD stories like The Astonishing Color of After you'd probably enjoy this book. 

I thought I was going to DNF this book many times because:
1- There is very little story or character arc. Just a little bit of mystery, since, well, Julie is actually talking to her DEAD boyfriend
2- This whole premise seemed a little morbid.
3- The audiobook did not help. The ENTIRE story is narrated in first person from Julie's POV with an angsty tone that I did not enjoy at all. 

BUT I kept reading because: 
1- ALL THE FEELINGS. it is a beautiful grief story, that's for sure. There is A LOT of feelings and sadness. A LOT. An emotionally charged story since all characters are grieving Sam (Julie and Sam's friends)
2- The writing is very good and the characters are very sweet and realistic
3- I NEEDED to know where this was going. I really wanted to see some character arcs. I wanted to see Julie and everyone else overcome this immense sadness and come to terms with Sam’s death.
4- I very much enjoyed the Asian cultural elements. 
5- I heard the ending was something!
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This book was devastatingly heart breaking. I wept. I laughed. I had to pause the audio too many times because I didn't want to know what happened next or when the calls would end... but I had to keep going because the story was real and magical and I needed to know how it ended. 

Julie and Sam has the intense love of the young and first fallen in love. 

This isn't a spoiler as it is in the summary and in every review I saw: Just as their love is about to take the next step - graduate high school, off to college and away from their small town: Sam dies. And it's tragic for the reader and for Julie who can't seem to get out of a spiral of grief and depression. She can't even bring herself to attend his funeral because it's too real and too much and a part of her feels like his death is her fault since she needed a ride home and he died on the way to pick her up. We don't just see her grief though. We see it from Sam's family (particularly his brother) and his friends. 

What I loved: the thought of getting one more phone call and one more goodbye with the person you loved and lost. I also loved the themes of friendship and survivor's guilt presented in this novel; each are presented thoughtfully and thoroughly. I also liked how different ways to grieve are shown and accepted. I also liked how vague the other side of the line (Sam's) was. 

What I didn't like: I think it would have added mystery if we didn't know if the phone calls were "real" or all just in Julie's head as a way to cope with Sam's death.

I also loved how this book had a book within a book. Julie is gifted a beautiful notebook/journal at one point in the narrative to write her own story (presumably the one we are reading).
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This was such a good book! Heartbreaking at times but I really enjoyed the characters and the premise.
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An absolutely emotional and poignant read. It’s a Ya novel but by will touch you right in the heart. It’s I about loss and personal growth. With some guild mixed in. Great read.
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3.5 stars rounded up.

This is an emotional story about Julie who loses her high school boyfriend, Sam, in an accident. She is heartbroken and just wants to hear his voice so decides to call his voicemail, but Sam picks up. Now Julie’s been given a second chance to say goodbye, but she would rather keep talking to him than live her life. 

This book totally gave me Landline by Rainbow Rowell vibes while I was reading it. However, this was definitely a sadder story. I couldn’t imagine losing someone I love especially at a young age when we don’t understand death as much.  I could totally relate to Julie wanting to keep calling Sam just to keep their love alive. 

The thing that this book taught us though was that you can’t always hold onto your past. Sometimes you need to find the strength to push forward and get on with your life even if that doesn’t seem possible. I think this is a great message for young adult readers. 

I listened to the audiobook which I really struggled with. The airiness of narrator, Soneela Nankani’s vpice was too much for me and I had to speed it up way more than I would normally listen at. I understand she was trying to portray Julie’s emotions, but it was over the top for me. 

Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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I knew two things from the moment I read this book's summary. The first was that I would not be able to resist reading it in some form. The second was that this book would break my heart.

I was able to listen to this book as an audiobook, which probably saved me some heartbreak. There were parts I would've stopped reading to process, but the audiobook narrator just kept going. If anything, I was surprised with how much I didn't cry during this book. The end really got me (I had some hope before starting this that Sam would somehow come back), but it was a good read.

I loved the side characters - each one helped keep the book upbeat and fun to listen to. I especially liked Oliver and Tristan (Julie and Tristan would've made such a good couple!!!). Without them, this book would've been a lot more depressing.

"You've Reached Sam" was a sad tale, but still good. I don't know what I would do if I lost a friend or boyfriend this way, so I really felt for Julie. If you enjoyed Things We Know by Heart , you would probably enjoy this book as well.
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You've Reached Sam is probably one of my favorite books of 2021. Usually, romance isn't my go-to genre, I usually read them when I need a break from my typically darker books. But You've Reached Sam is such a sweet and sad book. It got to the point where I almost cried at the end. Such a good story!
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This was one of my most highly anticipated books of the year and this book didn’t disappoint. I loved the plot and the pacing of the story was amazing.
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I wanted to love this book. I love its idea and think that the story itself is excellent, but I didn't love the characters or form any real connection to them. I can totally see how people can relate to this tragic story and what how these characters can resonate, but for me they didn't. 

I will definitely be recommending this book because I do think it is a great representation of grief and how it can make you lose sight of who you are. I also loved the narrator and thought she did a great job bringing the characters to life. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for letting me read this early!
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High school senior Julie has her future all mapped out with her boyfriend Sam - move to the city, attend college, and spend the summer in Japan.  But then her future comes to a halt the night that Sam dies in a car crash and Julie believes it's all her fault.  Unable to face reality, Julie pulls away from friends and family, but desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam's cellphone and to her surprise, Sam picks up.  With their nightly phone calls, Julie's given a second chance to say goodbye, but with a temporary connection, Julie must find a way to move on or stay stuck in the past.

You've Reached Sam was beautifully written and gives hope when it seems all is lost.  As someone that is actively grieving right now, this book hit me in the feels.  There isn't a day that I wish I could speak to my loved one just one more time.  This book encapsulated all those emotions and gave Julie the closure, especially at such a young age, that she so desperately needed.  I loved how the book went back and forth in between the past and the present, slowly developing not only Julie and Sam's relationship, but the background that helped the reader understand Julie's pain.  This book is definitely a tearjerker and one that needs to be handled with care, especially if you have recently lost a loved one.  

I very much enjoyed the narration of the audiobook, but did have to speed it up to 3x to keep the story moving.
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I had a hard time getting into this story and connecting with the characters. I knew Julie was experiencing grief but I felt like I was thrown into it without knowing much about her, Sam or their relationship. The flashback timeline did not help with this feeling of not being grounded in the story. I am don’t think this writing style works for me so I decided to put the book down.
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** Thanks to NetGalley for the audio ARC in exchange for an honest review! **

So I burned through this book in less than 6 hours…and I have very mixed feelings about it.

📚𝙒𝙃𝘼𝙏’𝙎 𝙄𝙏 𝘼𝘽𝙊𝙐𝙏?📚
This book follows Julie, who is struggling in the days following her boyfriend Sam’s tragic death. She skips his funeral, throws out his belongings, and tries to forget about the argument they had just moments before his death. But one day, she decides to call his cellphone to here his voice on his answering machine one last time…but Sam picks up the phone.

📚𝙈𝙔 𝙏𝙃𝙊𝙐𝙂𝙃𝙏𝙎📚
Emotionally? This book absolutely destroyed me. 5/5⭐️ for the tears and heartache I felt the entire time I was reading. But outside of the sheer emotional impact, I couldn’t help but think this left a little bit to be desired. I found both the plot and the overall character development to be a little lacking. I didn’t love Julie as a main character, which may in part have been fueled by my dislike for how the audiobook narrator voiced her. Sometimes I just felt like her grief was so self-focused that it negatively impacted the people around her (which would have been fine had there been some growth or self-awareness gained throughout but I didn’t really got that). I found myself wanting the focus to shift to the side characters and their grief and love for Sam. Like Oliver…he was just so precious! 

Despite these issues, I absolutely adored Dustin Thao’s writing style and thought this was an incredibly solid debut novel. He did a great job of depicting the complicated ways in which people experience grief and how closure doesn’t mean forgetting. And the way he had me crying over a character who was never even alive on page? 😂 I would definitely pick up more books from this author in the future!
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There is only one word for this debut novel by Dustin Thao ... Exquisite

I was moved to tears by this beautiful love story that is tragic about the difficulties of saying goodbye to someone you love. I thought the story was creative and so emotional - it was just amazing. my emotions surfaced immediately reading this story giving me all the feelings about what a tragic loss would look like, if it happened to me.

Audiobook: I also listened to the audiobook and thought that the narration was pleasant and really captured the essence of this emotional story.

Highest recommendations for Dustin Thao - and a standing ovation too. Well done!
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