Cover Image: Sam


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What happens to a girl’s sense of joy and belonging—to her belief in herself—as she becomes a woman? This unforgettable portrait of coming-of-age offers subtle yet powerful reflections on class, parenthood, addiction, lust, and the irrepressible power of dreams.

This is a quiet character study of a young girl turning into a woman and all that goes along with that. I really like Sam and her mom's relationship. Sam's father suffers from addiction and Sam's relationship with him was heartbreaking. We start out with Sam at 7 years old and follow her up until she is 19. Sam's father introduces her to rock climbing and that is what helps to give Sam stability in her life. This is a wonderful story that I won't soon forget.

I was given a copy from NetGalley and the publisher and these opinions are my own.

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To say I loved Sam would be an understatement. Goodman's created a protagonist unlike any I've read--she's feisty, determined, and she comes alive when she is climbing rocks. Though her struggling single mother wants her to have a life of financial security, it's the risk--and the rocks--that draw Sam. I can't imagine any reader not cheering Sam on!

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The cover of this one is slightly misleading…it looks sinister? Is it a thriller? Mystery? It’s actually a coming of age story, starting when Sam is a very young girl. We follow her through adolescence to post-high school age.

There were certain elements of this story that I really liked, mainly her relationship with both her parents. Not exactly healthy relationships but I thought it was written very well. There was a co-dependency with her mom, and parts of her mother were so relatable and painful, too. And her dad, well that just broke my heart over and over. These parts of the book made me think about my own kids and their childhoods, and it strengthened the arc of the story for me.

Without that, I would’ve had a hard time feeling any connection to Sam. She’s the main character but there was something missing, she felt so closed off, so stunted in a way…almost blunt and guarded. Which is probably the point, that’s how Sam was to people in her life. Usually with a coming of age story I feel a deep sense of nostalgia, or wistfulness, some kind of connection to younger me, and I had none of that this time. And that’s ok, but in the end I just didn’t really enjoy this story. 3 stars for the parts I did like.

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The structure and unquoted stream of consciousness narrative were bothersome in the beginning --- I had to put this down and pick it back up. It's a sleeper of a little classic though.

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This is a coming of age novel about a girl named Sam, starting when she is seven years old.

This story is told entirely from Sam’s perspective and we see the hardships she’s gone through in her life beginning with her dads inconsistent presence and lack of reliability in Sam’s life. When Sam is a bit older/teen years she begins rock climbing then falls victim to her much older, adult climbing coach as she adores him and he most certainly takes advantage of Sam.

Sam’s mother is always working to try to make ends meet and that often leaves Sam watching her younger brother with special needs, Noah.

Sam has several relationships and then one with a man named Justin, who at first it seems she is losing herself for but then comes into her own and forms a bond with his grandmother, Ann and makes decisions based on what Sam really wants.

I have to say that Sam as both a novel and a character grew on me as I read. I often felt sorry for Sam in these awful situations but also felt like I didn’t know her much outside of her traumas and the worst parts of her life. However, by the end I was rooting for Sam and excited to see her finally doing things for herself because she wanted to.

4 stars

⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank you so much to NetGalley and The Dial Press for an E-ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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🧗‍♀️Book Review🧗‍♀️

Sam by Allegra Goodman is a coming of age book that follows Sam from a young age into young adulthood. The story is told from a 3rd person point of view which was a little odd for me. I think by choosing to write it this way, the audience is not able to really connect with Sam. For me, it did not really work. I liked the story but it was just that, a story. What did work for this book was that Sam is just an ordinary girl that experiences regular life. I can see this being very relatable for people. That being said, it was a forgettable book.

Thank you @randomhouse and @netgalley for the eARC!

#Sam #RandomHouse #book recommendations #read #newbooks #book

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Sam is an interesting coming-of-age tale that starts when the main character is only 7 years old and follows her changes and life through the age of 19.

While I did find myself enjoying Sam's journey, I at times wanted more depth to her character because it was hard to connect. The explorations of loneliness, grief, and dealing with disappointments in life, while using her climbing sport as a contrasting feature to her development both mentally and physically was a unique take, but at times kept the reader at a distance from the character.

Overall, Sam is a beautiful, heartbreaking look into a child from a broken home just trying to find her way in the world.

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Sam is 7 in the beginning of this story, which lasts though her teen years. She lives with her mom Courtney and her half-brother Noah. Courtney struggles to raise her kids, working two jobs, and has dreams for their futures. Her dreams do not mesh with Sam's. Sam sees her father on and off through most of her life, eventually not wanting to see him at all. Mitchell is an addict but so magical in a young girl's life. He introduces her to climbing and that becomes the world to Sam.

The story is a slow-moving walk through her life, her loves, her anger, her fears. She loses a lot in her young life but she also has a lot of support that she doesn't always open up to. Most of her anger is thrown at her father, which makes sense, he pops in and out all the time. She builds up walls around her heart to protect it but as we know, that doesn't always work. She has a secret relationship with her climbing coach which ends badly. That steers a lot of the story.

Ms. Goodman makes you root for Sam to succeed even when you might want to slap her upside her head. Wonderful outlying characters like her boyfriend Justin's great-grandmother. She was fun. Very enjoyable read.

Thanks to Netgalley and Random House for an advance copy for review.

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Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of this lovely book. I found this coming of age completely engrossing. Once I started reading I couldn't put it down. You can read the other reviews to find a summary ....I just want to say I highly recommend this book!

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I was recently listening to an interview where an author was asked what her favorite book was and I was thinking, if I'm ever in that situation, I feel like my answer would now be Sam. I've been reading Allegra Goodman's gorgeous writing since I was in high school but I think that Sam has to be my favorite. I read it in one day and then cried when I was done because I missed the characters so much. Just a simple story of a girl making her way in the world but so rich and alive with love.

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An interesting coming of age story. Relationships between children and parents through the years were explored. Sam made some questionable choices but ultimately succeeded in becoming her own self.

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We grow up with Sam in this novel. She is 7 at the beginning, and a young adult by the end. Her single mother is trying her best, she loves her father but he is not very dependable. Sam discovers the sport of climbing-she loves outdoor rock climbing as well as in a gym. She's good at it, and it helps her fit in, and find a place in life. But sadly the adults in her life disappoint her and it is hard to know who she can depend on. You really come to care about Sam and feel for her throughout her journey. Great story. #comingofagenovel #sam #allegragoodman #bookstagram #booklover #reader #bookblog #lovetoread #fictionreader #bookreview #bookrecommendation #readersofinstagram #bookloversofinstagram #takeapagefrommybook #readallthebooks #booksbooksbooks
#readwithjenna #rockclimbing #advancedreaderscopy #netgalley

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An utterly believable and profound coming of age story. Readers of all ages will enjoy this novel.
Many thanks to Random House and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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This heartbreaking, but beautiful, novel follows Sam from elementary school through young adulthood. Sam lives with her mother, Courtney, and younger half-brother, but as a young girl, spends a lot of time with her charming father. He first introduces her to climbing, at which she naturally excels. But her father struggles with addiction, which so often takes him from her, leaving her feeling betrayed.

At the same time, her mother works two jobs to try to make ends meet, often leaving Sam with her younger brother. Sam internalizes not just her pain, but the pain she witnesses. She doesn't fit in at school (doesn't want to fit in), but her climbing helps her to find her own tribe.

At times bleak, this novel features scenes that everyone who doesn't fit in can relate to. Author Allegra Goodman does eke out a hopeful ending. Really, really good book. #Sam #NetGalley

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A nice coming of age story with lots of heart and emotional depth. I thought the writing was just a little too simplistic for me to ever fully get lost in the story, but that choice almost seemed intentional to the tone of the book. I would certainly read more from the author and I particularly think this would be a great read for a reader transitioning from YA to adult novels.

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I really liked this one! I love a good coming of age story and while this one isn't exactly relatable to me (at all - I was not into any sport let alone climbing) I found certain parts of this super impactful. Following Sam through high school and into college was the best part for me as well as every Sam + Courtney interaction!

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Sam was my first read of 2023 and it was one of those books where you compulsively turn the pages, but as the end nears you slow down so the story won’t come to an end! We follow Sam’s story, told from her point of view, from the age of seven until she turns nineteen. We relate to so many of the things she experiences: love, disappointment, heartbreak. It’s a fast read that lingers with you. I felt like I was reading the Girlhood version of Richard Linklater’s Boyhood! A little sad, a little wistful, a lot beautiful…

Thank you to Random House Publishing Group and NetGalley for this ARC.

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Good book but lost in the hype. I didn't feel the writing was particularly good band didn't enjoy it, although I know many will.

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This story follows Sam, from age 7 up through age 19 as she grows up, and faces the good and bad life has to offer.

This was such a wonderful coming of age story. I thought it was truly wonderful look at a young girl growing through the awkward years, and learning to become who she wants to be. She certainly faced her fair share of struggle, and the story kept me wondering how she would handle those struggles and where she would go next.

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Show of hands, who knew that Sam was going to solve that one last riddle before the book ends? Yes, you and me both dear readers. Because Sam was that type of girl: while trying to make everyone happy, she kept her eye on the prize. She never forgot about what she truly wanted, and that's a rare quality for a person her age as people are tend to be very impressionable at that age. Sam was a gem. Sam was one sad and regretful girl, but she understood she was the creator of all her regrets.

It must feel great to have one thing that you are extremely passionate about. Falling asleep to it, dreaming of it, waking up to it... It is the biggest challenge in your life, hardest problem to solve, but also best gift ever. Climbing was that for Sam. The flow of her life was in tune with climbing (and appearances made by her father). While she could have drop everything and lose hope when things were going south, she kept herself in line by anchoring herself back to earth and climbing.

I liked this coming of age story a lot. It is something I would have liked to read when I was Sam's age. Even though her life wasn't a rose garden, she made best of it. Reading this story at this age shifted my focus more to Sam's mom, her life, and role; I don't think I would have appreciated her enough as a young reader.

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