Cover Image: You've Reached Sam

You've Reached Sam

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Member Reviews

** 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.

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.

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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I enjoyed this story.

I think part of the point was that the main character became very disconnected from reality, and it really bugged me how the other characters treated her because of it. 

Grief is so hard and everyone deals with it differently. Everyone treated her like she wasn't doing enough or wasn't grieving right really pissed me off.

I wasn't expecting the supernatural bit, I thought it was going to be a mystery and he wasn't really dead or something.

Narrator was great! Really easy to listen to.

*Thank you to the publisher for this eARC.
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this book had made several points, and I read it as best and openly as I can, but aside from the flashback scenes and the tail end of the book, there wasn't much to latch on for myself.
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You've Reached Sam was a good narrative for those who are struggling to deal with grief, friendships, family relationships, and other coming of age feelings. Thao's novel was compelling and relevant for teens today without being too mature.
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I really wanted to like this one, and there was a lot to like about it, but after setting my expectations pretty high, it didn't really do it for me.

The concept was so intriguing. Having the opportunity to talk to your boyfriend again after he dies? Amazing. Actually reading it was another story, but I don't think I was a very good fit for this book.

I thought the narrator was a great fit for the tone of this book, but the pace of reading made my brain squirm. I had to up this to 1.75x speed to be able to focus. After I upped the speed, my enjoyment increased significantly. 

It's hard to connect sometimes to someone else's grief, and I think that because I take such a different approach to my own grieving, I couldn't connect as well with the main character. Isolating herself from her friends, and Sam's family made me feel disconnected from the story. 

I enjoyed the scenes set in the bookstore, and there was a bit of magic there that I felt we could have explored a little more.

I thought the dream sequences were really powerful and the imagery really came through for me on it. All in all, I still saw the value in the story and the writing, but again, I don't think I was a good fit for this book.
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I didn't emotionally connect to the characters as i think I should have in order to feel the full impact of the story. The author did a great job showing the loss Julie felt and how it impacted her and the people around her.

I found myself getting frustrated with Julie for not being willing to move on and using Sam to hold her back. Thinking back, it's probably realistic that she'd hold on so tight, especially given how young she is.

This is a beautifully written story about grief and healing.

The narration was great. Soneela Nankani's voice was perfect.
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I went into You’ve Reached Sam, knowing that it was going to be a heavier read. I fully expected to be taken on an emotional journey that would more than likely be the epitome of bittersweet and this book completely delivered!

What I Loved:
✨The Storytelling - I loved how the story was equally told through flashbacks and moments grounded in the present. The mixture of both allows the reader to fully experience the impact Sam had on Julie’s life and grasp the true depth of his loss.

✨The Depiction of Grief - This book beautifully captures the notion that grief can be experienced in a multitude of ways. I really appreciated Thao making a point of having no one character respond to the loss of Sam in the exact same manner. Thao’s various takes on grief were all equally moving and poignant.

✨The Ending - I won’t spoil anything, but the book’s ending had me shedding literal tears on my morning Metro commute to work. It was a very fitting ending and it left me thinking about the book for many days after listening to its final page.

If you’re looking for a read that captures your heart from the very start and doesn’t ever let go, You’ve Reached Sam is definitely the book for you! I also highly recommend the audiobook - Soneela Nankani has such a soothing voice and does a wonderful job at narrating!
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I went into this book expecting it to break me. And it did. You've Reached Sam was so sad! This book was so full of emotion. If you liked The Year After You, I definitely recommend reading this. Both books were so overcome with grief. I just couldn't with that ending!

Usually, I prefer plot-driven stories, but the plot isn't super heavy. The story focuses more on the characters though the story was pretty gripping. Each character in this book was written so well. They were also really realistic. I fell in love with all of them!

Julie's character arc was my favorite part of the book. She lost her first love and had to move on. Her narration was so raw and emotional. This is one of my favorite storylines about grief. Her friendship with other characters is developed really well too. I love Mika. 

The cover is this book is beautiful! I love how it relates so well to the story. The cover alone just shows how sad this book is.

You've Reached Sam was also really diverse! A lot of the main characters are Asain.

My only criticism is sometimes the plot seemed to drag on for a little too long.
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✍️ One Sentence Synopsis: A high schooler loses her boyfriend in a car accident but their connection continues on.

💭 Overall Thoughts: 
This book has an interesting approach to grief and makes the reader consider what defines closure, what defines connection, and where does that connection continue after we die?

I appreciated the character growth here, the emotional poignancy, the truest form of emotional intimacy that I feel could be accomplished in a high school relationship.

💕 Adorable connection 
🤔 Makes you think 
💨 Well paced
😮Unexpected ending

⚠️ Content Warnings: grief and loss

Thank you to Macmillan audio and NetGalley for the opportunity to listen with request for review.
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My heart it so broken and full all at the same time. I cried, laughed, loved, and cried again. This book ran me through all the emotions and I don’t hate it. My whole heart wanted the ending to be something else but I was not disappointed by it. Highly recommend this emotional tear jerker. It hits all the emotions in such a good way
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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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