Member Reviews

Sam is a young girl with a deep passion for rock climbing. This hobby provides stability and an outlet as she grows up in a poor and sometimes unstable home. This is a coming-of-age story with wonderful and well developed supporting characters. I really enjoyed Sam and following her journey - and found the book really hard to put down. I was drawn in by the unique point of view and the writing style as well. Thank you to Net Galley for the digital ARC to review.

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Sam is a coming of age story, whose main character Sam is from a broken home, where the father is not around much but idolizes by Sam. Her mother is always trying to get Sam to study to be able to have a good career and not end up like her, working two jobs to make ends meet.
Sam does not like school or most of the people there except for one good friend, who has the same interest in something Sam loves to do, which is to climb, a place where she can feel free.
It is an interesting story as you watch her grow up and face her fears, crushes, feelings about family and friends and learning to finally see what her future could hold.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group – Random House for a copy of this book.

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This book was really good and not what I expected. Great job. Thank you so much for the gifted arc. I really appreciate it.

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A coming-of-age, young adult story with the overarching theme being love. The main character does not have a great life but her mother’s love for her is relentless and truly makes a positive impact on her future. Her father demonstrates love too but it is difficult for a young child to appreciate his contribution until the end. While I usually don’t appreciate coming-of-age or YA, I did enjoy this one. Her passion for climbing is very interesting and something of which I had very little knowledge prior to reading this. Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.

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First I want to thank the publisher and Netgalley for allowing me to read this title in exchange for my honest review.

Sam is supposed to be a coming of age story. She lives with her mother, who as a single mom is having a very hard time both in life and love. She just barely scrapes by. Her little brother Noah has emotional problems, and her absentee father has addiction issues. At the age of seven she finds an activity that forces her to push her limits. Climbing.

The outline for this story is a good one. It is not overly original but still it should provide a good foundation for the story. However, I found it not well executed. This is the type of story where your emotions should be engaged, you should be able to connect to the character and feel what she feels as events happen in her life. I never truly connected to Sam. The beginning of the story I did like the the writing style I thought it fit very well with how a seven year old's mind might work and process things, but it barely changes and matures as the years go by.

Speaking of time passing I didn't particularly enjoy the flow of the book, but we do cover a lot of time in a short book so I can see why we needed to speed it up.

I do feel this author has talent and if the story could be fleshed out more I think it could be really good. Maybe more research on how children who have absentee parents, addiction issues, etc and how that changes their relationships within the family. Having siblings who have mental health issues and how that effects the family more.

I think if she read more of those stories and added some of that to Sam and her family, we could hear that inner monologue and see the battles better. This might add some emotional depth.

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Sam is a classic bildungsroman following a young girl through some of the most formative years of her life. Sam comes alive on the page at seven years old and takes the reader through the bumpiness of navigating your tweens and teens when it feels like the world is against you.

Sam lives with her mom, who is struggling to make ends meet, be a caring and present mom, and find her own happiness. Sam's dad's presence in her life is erratic and often chaotic, but their love is fierce. He understands her in a way that feels unique from her mom's well meaning, exhausted support. Just as Sam begins to establish equilibrium, her young life is turned upside down, hurling her into an identity crisis that shapes the next decade.

This is the first Allegra Goodman novel I've read, and I can see why she has a devoted following. Sam's voice is consuming, truly gripping the reader's attention for all thirteen years of her life. Her choices and the shifts in her life they caused are subtle and believable while culminating in changes strong enough to drive the plot. Goodman's ability to age Sam's voice all but imperceptibly mirrors adolescence with tenderness.

As an adult reading this, I absolutely itched to reach out to Sam, but that's what age and distance and experience does to us, doesn't it? Pushes us to intervene? To guide? At the very least, to reflect? I'm sure I would've really taken to this if I were the age of the target YA market, but I still found plenty to enjoy within Sam's experiences.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC.

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Hmmm. This book was a chore to get through. I don't even know what to say about the writing style. Allegra Goodman's prose was so choppy and stilted. I couldn't stand the short paragraphs and awkward transitions. I love coming-of-age stories but this one was just too weird for me. I didn't like the third person narrative, and the abrupt age changes of our main protagonist, Sam. I really wanted to like this, but in the end, this was very forgettable.

Thank you, Netgalley and Random House for the digital ARC.

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Allegra Goodman’s Sam is a touching coming of age story. Between her tumultuous parents, Sam is left with little space for herself to grow and come into her own. She’s dragged down with situational and life issues.

There were parts of this book that I did enjoy, Sam’s physical feats of strength that were displayed through her climbing prowess. The motivational wall that she continued to conquer.
While other parts left me wanting, the emotional strife between her parents, especially her father.

All in all, Goodman’s debut is a solid entry into the comfortable genre of finding your place in the mainstream world.

Thank you to Net Galley and Random House for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I received an Advanced Reader copy from Netgalley for my honest review. I was caught up immediately by Sam and her climbing antics. Climbing plays a major part of her life through grade school and through High School, even as she is in college, climbing is her outlet. Her brother Noah has a “special” need which is never identified by name. Sam helps to care from him while her mother is working. There are lots of family dynamic! Sam and Noah have different fathers. Both struggle with addictions and how money affects their relationships. Sam doesn’t quite fit into the mold and has limited friendships. Sex, money, needs and wants, family, friends, addictions, divorce, school and education are a few topics addressed. One of my favorite characters is great grandma Ann! She says what she thinks and doesn’t take any flack. The story spans Sam’s life from 7-20 yrs. I was cheering for Sam to follow her heart! This is my first novel by Allegra Goodman. There is so much happening in this story that I wanted Sam to realize her choices many times.

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Though low key and middlebrow, this novel is rather affecting. Goodman is a capable and unpredictable plotter, avoiding obvious traps and expectations, dodging sentimentality. The coming of age of her central character isn’t, in the end, such a surprise, but it comes with heartwarming charm and a dash of sincerity. A success.

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This story is one which touches our heart. It’s beautifully written about Sam who is an ordinary girl trying to make it through hardships in her life.

It starts when she is 7 years old, the beginning of making goals for herself. She lives with her mother, Courtney, and brother, Noah, who is 5 years younger. They have different fathers who show up from time to time. Sam’s father, Mitchell, talks about the challenge of climbing walls. He told her when she turns 15 or 16, she could climb Red Rocks. She makes this her goal which is much like her life. She wanted to be the best trying to find her footings; racing to the top with competitions.

This book represents aspects of growing up independently, creating challenges, overcoming depressing moments and feeling good about accomplishments. The dialogue keeps the story moving at a fast pace with lots of distractions: car trouble, money trouble, and hair-raising relationships with fathers. Every character is believable and easy to visualize. I felt like I was in the audience cheering for her to get to the top of the wall all along. I didn’t want this book to end.

My thanks to Allegra Goodman, The Dial Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read this advanced copy with the expected release date of January 3, 2023.

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I really enjoyed Sam. It basically is the story of a young girl growing up in a dysfunctional family. Yes, it is a sad story that does not have much hope, but the story really does reach out and take hold. Overall, I found the main character not very likable, but I still hoped she would find some sustained happiness. I needed to know what happened to Sam. I will admit it is not an exciting book, actually not much really happens except growing up, climbing, and being unhappy. However, it is emotional and you will continue reading it just to find out where it is going. This is my first book by this author and her writing style is a bit odd, but I kind of liked it.

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Sam is a coming of age story of one young woman. We see the struggles she endures with family and life.
The writing was not as fully developed as it could be for me. It felt to drag a bit.
Thanks!

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Allegra Goodman's new novel is titled SAM - a deceptively simple name depicting one small girl. We meet Sam when she is 7 and experience the divorce of her parents in short choppy sentences, much like a young child's thoughts. Sam searches for meaning and love throughout the book, as she matures, so do the sentences. Goodman adds in the afternotes that this novel was inspired by her own daughter - a child who just could not sit still. Sam evolves as a beautiful story of a girl living a contemporary life, a snapshot of the times. If you are an Allegra Goodman fan this novel is for you! #RandomHouse #TheDialPress. #AllegraGoodman

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Certainly not a happy story, nor did I find it to be great. But it was good. I might be too old and/or the wrong gender to appreciate this as much as others. Regardless, it is a nice read overall.

Thanks very much for the free ARC for review!!

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Book: Sam
Author: Allegra Goodman
Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars

I would like to thank the publisher, Dial Press, for providing me with ARC.

Sam is a coming-of-age story. We follow our main character, Sam, from the time she is seven until she is about nineteen or twenty. She loves climbing, isn’t good at school, and wants to be with her dad. She comes across as a normal child. We see her interactions with her family and the world around her. She and her brother have different fathers. We get to see how this affects the household and the difficulties that come with that. The book also deals with addiction, disabilities, and a single-mother household.

I’m going to start by saying that I did enjoy this one. However, I felt that it was missing something to make it great. I enjoyed how the world matured as Sam did. You could see this very clearly in the writing. I was expecting there to be something more. Sam’s world is full of sadness and no hope. When her mother got pregnant with her, she had to drop out of university and longs to go back, but can’t. Sam’s brother is autistic-forgive me if I’m wrong, but that’s what it sounded like in the book. Sam’s father is in and out of the picture, but she doesn’t know why until she is older. Jack, her brother’s dad, is mean. Sam struggles in school and doesn’t relate anymore. The only thing she has is climbing. This is the kind of set-up that I enjoy in books. It should have gotten a much higher rating from me.

My issue is I kept waiting for something big to happen. Don’t get me wrong, some things happen in Sam’s life. We see her grow and mature, but I wanted something more. The ending does give us hope for Sam. She is, after all, that person who was not supposed to make it; this is shown repeatedly. The point wasn’t driven home strong enough for my liking. Some parts felt like the author was just going through the motions of writing that sequence. The climbing parts were good and well thought out. I felt like the other parts were lacking. There were times that I felt there wasn’t enough of a reason for me to keep going.

The only reason I kept going was because of Sam. I enjoyed her voice and seeing the world from her point of view. We see her being forced into a path that she did not want or pick. She handles these situations with grace and maturity. She has had to live a life where she has had to grow up fast. While the author does do a good job of making her seem her age, you can tell that she is very mature. Again, she has had. I liked the relationship between her and her mother. Oftentimes, books will paint this relationship as being great and how we have to stick together. This is not the case here. We see how rocky things are and just how tough they can be. It isn’t sugarcoated and, as a result, feels very real.
Overall, I didn’t love this book, but I didn’t hate it. It just needed something more to make me give it a little bit of a higher rating.

This book comes out on January 3, 2023.

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This is a coming of age story that involves a lot of heartache and sadness. But it is an important story to tell. I really empathized with Sam and understood her relationships.

I think this book will do well.

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This is a coming of age novel about a girl named Sam. It deals with her mother, father, stepparents, lots of heartache and addiction. Poor character development. And sadly I didn’t care what happened to Sam and her family. A big disappointment.

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I cannot remember why I requested this book, but I’m glad I did! Watching Sam come of age amidst a messy series of events was real and frustrating and understandable. Really made me want to take up rock climbing.

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This book is not what I expected. It opens up to Sam at age 7 and it is immediately clear that she is not a happy child. Her mom’s boyfriend, Jack comes and goes and causes tension in the family. Unfortunately he remains in their life as mom Courtney and Jack have a son together. Sam seems detached from the rest of the family and just lives for the days when her dad comes to see her. He is not reliable and as Sam gets older she starts to resent him. The only thing she likes to do is climb. But even then, she is so competitive that it really doesn’t make her happy. This was a hard book to read but it represents a large population of families just trying to get through life with limited resources. Addiction, domestic violence, poverty. I wish the writer would have put a little more happiness into this book. Just because your family is struggling, doesn’t mean you can’t have a good laugh. Bleak.
I received this DRC from NetGalley and Dial Press in exchange for an honest review.

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