Cover Image: You've Reached Sam

You've Reached Sam

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Member Reviews

OMG I can't say enough about how much I loved this book! I cried more than once and if a book can make me do that, it's a winner for me.

Though Julie may not have been 100% my fave character, I really felt for her and understood why she acted the way she did. We all grieve differently and while on a personal level I didn't agree with some of the things she did or missed, I can understand try9ing to protect your heart from something you can yet accept. 

I felt bad for Julie's friends and family as well, again because a lot of them didn't understand how she just "didn't care" and how they felt left behind and noth worth her time. This book really shows all different aspects and steps of grief and it was so important to have it all in the story. The author did an amazing job fitting it all together in ways that many people can relate.
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This book follows a high-school girl in the aftermath of loss. It shows grief and how we judge each others grief in a really honest way. I think their is definitely an audience who would like this book. I have read books that are similar and though they were not for me, I know others who really enjoyed them. For me this book just fell flat in a lot of ways. i didn't feel a deep connection to the characters, the plot didn't really catch me either. The writing was decent, but it wasn't enough for me to really like this one. If serious books with a slower plot pace work for you I still think this one is worth checking out! Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Suppose you’re a high school senior whose beloved boyfriend died a week ago in a car crash while coming to pick you up. Suppose that, distraught, you call his cellphone just to hear his outgoing message.

And suppose he answers.

That’s the intriguing premise of this young-adult novel about love, loss and a desperate attempt to hold on. And if the story moves a little slowly — if we end up a bit less engaged with the late Sam Obiyashi and his girlfriend, Julie, than we’d imagined we would — it still will strike a chord with anyone who’s had a hard time letting go of someone they cared deeply about.

Nankani’s reading, deeper for Sam than Julie but otherwise unmemorable, neither helps nor hinders the story.
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Thank you to St. Martin's Press, Wednesday Books, Macmillan Audio, and NetGalley for advanced copies of both the ebook and audiobook versions of this title.  

High school senior Julie has been dreaming of leaving her small Washington town to move to the city with her boyfriend Sam after graduation. When Sam dies, Julie is lost and tries to forget that he ever existed. Still, she wants to hear his voice again so she calls his cell phone. Inexplicably, Sam answers, and the two are given a little bit more time to say goodbye.

This book was pretty slow for me. It wasn't bad, I just wanted a little more action to keep it interesting.
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You've Reached Sam is a story of grief and loss. Our main character Julie is given the ability to reconnect with her boyfriend Sam, who passed away only weeks before. Whenever she calls, he answers, and they are able to spend a little more time together before having to say goodbye for good.

Our two main characters have a connection that overshadows almost everything else in their lives, which makes this a powerful love story but also leaves Julie completely lost at the beginning of this story, and that feeling of desolation never really leaves her. There is no real processing of emotions for Julie. Rather, she attaches herself to Sam; canceling plans, missing important events, and completely isolating herself in order to stay close to his ghost. And then, in a matter of pages, she's completely fine. The grief reactions felt natural at first, but over time, I just got frustrated with Julie, especially when the things she chose to ignore became increasingly more important to her friendships and her future. 

There was also one major plot hole that bothered me to the point of lowering my rating, which I can't reveal because of spoilers but also because I want to read through this one more time to make sure I'm right...

I have a lot I could say about this book, but let's just end this review by saying this was a raw, honest story with beautiful writing. I'd still recommend this, especially if you liked Your Name which this book has been compared to. Our side characters were wonderful, the friendships formed in this story were sweet, and it didn't make me cry like everyone said it would so maybe that's good too.
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DNF @ 50%. This story is missing so many elements for Sam & Julie. There is nothing driving this book anywhere. It was missing too much for me to continue.
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Julie and Sam are a cute couple that are inseperable once they get together. Sam was supposed to pick Julie up from the bus station after a trip to see her dad and he was running late and wound up in a car accident and died. Julie has the worst time dealing with this information. The whole book is about how Julie feels about Sam and telling stories, out of order, about their relationship and how she's dealing with his death. The truth is that she isn't dealing with it and makes a lot of terrible choices. She shuts down. She stops going to school, work and even leaving the house, which means that she doesn't go to Sam's funeral or any of the events to celebrate him and his life. While I understand this, I also have issue with it. One day Julie just wishes she could talk to Sam again and she decides to call him on the phone and surprisingly he picks up. Julie is shocked and admittedly doesn't understand but clings onto these phone calls like a lifeline in an unbelievably unhealthy way. Their calls to each other even blocks communication on her phone with other people in her life but Julie doesn't care as long as she has a connection with Sam again. In the end she realizes what she needs to do but the path there was really hard to dredge through. I think this title would be useful for any teen that hasn't been through an experience of death of a close loved one.
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**ARC provided by NetGalley for honest review**

You've Reached Sam by Dustin Thao is about the struggling grieving process of a high school senior after the tragic loss of her boyfriend Sam. This has a magical realism element to it, so I was very interested in checking this story out. Unfortunately, it missed the mark for me.

One the one hand, the audiobook I listened to was performed by one of my favorite narrators, Soneela Nankani, and she did a great job as always. The beginning was also a solid start for me and the flashbacks throughout the book were also beautiful and fun scenes, in fact they were my favorite part. The ending was also well done and satisfying.

The rest, however, was just a real struggle to get through. It just wasn't enjoyable for me to listen to the main protagonist go on and on about how awful everything was and behave pretty poorly to everyone around her. Maybe that was the point and, of course, she was going through a hard time, but it felt cringy and a bit overdramatic to me and really repetitive, which hurt the pacing a lot in the middle chunk. 

Overall, I am aware that I'm not the target audience, so take my preferences with a grain of salt, those were just my takeaways. Premise-8/10, Execution to my tastes-4/10
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You've Reached Sam starts off kind of like A Christmas Carol does. That's right: someone in the beginning of this book has passed away. Julie is the surviving girlfriend of Sam and Sam died as a result of a terrible car accident. While processing her boyfriend's death, Julie is broken up about it and avoids all social interactions. She misses Sam so much that, eventually, she calls him... and guess who picks up?

Honestly, I think if you're an anime fan like me or a fan of Makoto Shinkai's work, you may really like this book. The book also reminds me of if Makoto Shinkai wrote P.S. I Love You. It's a sad story because there is a lot of grief and watching Julie go through grief in the book, but there's also something magical about being able to have those last moments with someone who has passed away even for a brief period of time longer. There's also this underlying idea of how grief can sometimes take over the moments of our lives that we're living right now when we don’t let go when it’s time to let go.
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Emotional, beautiful, and utterly heartbreaking, You've Reached Sam will take you on the best emotional roller coaster ride you could ask for. 

Dustin Thao's writing is absolutely beautiful and if you're looking for a book to truly make you feel--this is it.
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A beautifully written YA focusing on dealing with grief. A great depiction of how some process a loss of a person close to them with a slight supernatural spin. 

As someone who recently loss a close family member, I would love to be able to call and speak to them wherever they are now. But although this story is fantastical it still gives real life hope on moving forward without them but still keeping their memory alive. 

Thank you to NetGalley and MacMillan Audio for an advanced audiobook for review.
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After her boyfriend Sam dies, high school senior Julie feels lost and alone. In a desperate attempt to hear his voice just one more time, she calls him, and to her surprise, he answers. Through unknown forces, they are connected again and allowed to speak, to finally be able to say goodbye. Julie must keep their calls a secret, but when she sees the pain his family is experiencing, she has to choose whether to keep the connection and Sam to herself, or to tell the truth and allow his family to experience peace and closure and risk losing Sam forever.

This was a very heavy book. The characters were so realistic and their emotions were real and raw. Julie was an interesting character, and though not totally likable, I appreciated watching her learn to accept her loss and work through her grief in various ways. The other characters were fine, but I wish they had been developed more. It makes sense that they weren’t though because Julie was lost in her own world. The calls with Sam were the parts of the book I was looking forward to most, but they fell flat for me. The way Sam and Julie talked to each other during several of the calls was unexpected and lacking. I had hoped to experience more depth of emotions while listening, but the plot wandered and often had nowhere to go, making the emotional scenes less impactful. The writing itself was poignant and beautiful, but with a little more direction, I think it would have evoked more emotions within me.

Soneela Nankani was a brilliant narrator and captured Julie’s struggles and sorrows so well. Her variety of voices for each character were subtle and effective. There was a melancholic quality to her voice that pervaded the audiobook, perfectly matching the tone of the novel.

Overall, I liked this novel quite a lot, I just wish there had been more to it—more emotions, more character development, and more meaningful conversations between Julie and Sam. Despite my wanting more, I would recommend it and think it may hit differently for others than it did for me.

(I received this audiobook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)
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This is the story of Julie and Sam.  They started dating when she moved to town.  For three years, they were together.  Then Sam dies.  Julie is having a hard time with her grief and at a low point, calls him on the phone.  She is surprised when he answers.  Through these phone calls, Sam and Julie help each other deal with what happened.
Opinion
I was lucky enough to get an audio and ebook copy of this book from Net Galley.  The narrator was excellent and conveyed emotions well.  Being able to both read and listen to the book, I was taken back to when I was in school.  It helped to enhance my opinion of the story.
Overall, it is a very tough topic.  No one wants to hear about teen's deaths.  However, this book was done very eloquently and with sensitivity.  While some scenes are blunt for how they show teens reacting to the death, Thao conveys the emotions in the scenes and the driving force behind said emotions.  This is a great book, especially for someone dealing with a loss in their own life.  It may help them through the cycle of grief.
Many thanks to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC of this book.
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A heartbreaking and unusual coming of age story that realistically portrays grief and the varied emotional experiences that loss can create. A book that is as beautiful as it is gut-wrenching and a powerful testament to grief and second chances with a little bit of magic!

When Julie loses her long-time boyfriend to an accident, her life comes to a sudden halt. Julie’s perfectly planned future means nothing without Sam, so she puts her life on hold in the process. Wanting to hear Sam’s voice, Julie decided to call his cellphone, but instead of reaching his voice mail she actually reaches Sam. Neither one of them understands the connection, but maybe this will be Julie’s chance to finally say goodbye.

This one destroyed my heart, but in the best possible way. This is written in such an honest and authentic way and explains how each individual in Sam’s life dealt with their loss differently and at their own pace. The narrators voice inflection is so well done and brought me to tears a couple of times. This YA romance is deeply moving and one of the most unique spins on dealing with loss.
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3 1/2 stars 

I went into this book with the expectation that it would wreck me. I was prepared to have tears continually streaming down my face. Obviously, it was very sad. However, not nearly as intense as I expected. me when reading the book. 

The main character, Julie is trying to muddle her way through the loss of her boyfriend, Sam. Everyone around her seems to have any opinion about what she's doing. I did think some of her behavior was odd. But people should never judge or question someone about "how" they grieve....everyone does it differently. That part was heartbreaking. It felt as if Julie didn't have many people to go to who understood her.

I think the author's goal of showing how Julie worked her way through the grieving process was a good one. For me, it felt as if it drug in certain places. I lost sight of where the book was going in places and had to work to keep myself reading. That's never ideal. In the end, I was glad I stuck with it. It was nice to see Julie go full circle with her process.

Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC. I voluntarily chose to review it and the opinions contained within are my own.

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: The narration for the book was good. I wouldn't say outstanding - - but definitely good. I would say that it wasn't my favorite audiobook. It didn't pull me in and keep me drawn into the story. I was just a content to read it. (3 1/2 stars)
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Wow, where even to begin with this one? First, thank you Wednesday Books for giving me access to an ALC in exchange for an honest review. It was a truly magical experience listening to this book. I wanted to crawl inside and live there forever with Julie.

This novel is breath-taking and effervescent in the way it's written. I can't emphasize enough about how full of emotion it is, and I feel like it explores grief well. I was so moved by Julie's story, and she grapples with some really tough questions. It's easy for people outside to judge her reaction/grieving process, but it was so nuanced in the way this book is written. I can't recommend this book enough.
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You’ve Reached Sam was a one of my most anticipated YA reads of this year, and I was thrilled to receive the audiobook for review. The story, the writing, the promise of heartbreak? It did not disappoint.  Though the time jumps in the beginning were a little hard to follow via audio, I still found this story to be an incredible—deeply emotional in a way that had me clinging to tissues the entire time I listened. Definitely recommend  if your a fan of angst, first love, and finding yourself during the most difficult part of your life.
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Thank you to the publisher for the advanced ecopy of You've Reached Sam by Dustin Thao.  It had lots of sweet moments and the overall message of how everyone deals with grief differently was a good one.  I was a little torn on how to rate the overall story because I would not say I ended up really enjoying the book overall.  The audiobook narrator sounded like she was whining pretty much every line....I mean her inflection never really changed.  The main character had a way of dealing with her grief that was bizarre AND offensive.  I genuinely can't imagine her mother or friends wouldn't have at some point grabbed her and told her to get a hold of herself.  It is one thing to grieve in your own way.  It is a whole other thing to grieve in a way that actively hurts those around  you who are also grieving.  And no, I will never think that is OK.  So while I struggled with that aspect, I did like how the author got into how different grief affected various people from Sam's life.  I think a lot of teen readers who are comfortable with melodrama and angst will love the book.  I am probably too old and jaded for it.
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You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao had great potential, but just didn’t live up to what it could have been. 
The idea of the story was original, and that was what appealed to me originally, but I just didn’t feel invested in the story. 
I really thought the narration was good on this and if you want to check out this story, the audiobook is a good option. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for the opportunity to read this book for an honest review.
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While the narrator was very good, the story fell apart pretty easily. I was all in for this to be a story about magic. I thought, “oh cool, a YA version of Rainbow Rowell’s Landline.”  This was not that. I could not connect with Julie. The were a ton of contradictions and I felt that while everyone grieves in his or her own way, Julie was pretty terrible to Sam’s family, who are obviously also grieving.
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