The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester
by Maya MacGregor
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Pub Date 03 May 2022 | Archive Date 01 Apr 2022
Astra Publishing House, Astra Young Readers
In this queer contemporary YA mystery, a nonbinary autistic teen realizes they must not only solve a 30-year-old mystery but also face the demons lurking in their past in order to live a satisfying life.
Sam Sylvester has long collected stories of half-lived lives—of kids who died before they turned nineteen. Sam was almost one of those kids. Now, as Sam’s own nineteenth birthday approaches, their recent near-death experience haunts them. They’re certain they don’t have much time left. . . .
But Sam's life seems to be on the upswing after meeting several new friends and a potential love interest in Shep, their next-door neighbor. Yet the past keeps roaring back—in Sam’s memories and in the form of a thirty-year-old suspicious death that took place in Sam’s new home. Sam can’t resist trying to find out more about the kid who died and who now seems to guide their investigation. When Sam starts receiving threatening notes, they know they’re on the path to uncovering a murderer. But are they digging through the past or digging their own future grave?
The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester explores healing in the aftermath of trauma and the fullness of queer joy.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 147 members
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What drew me to picking this book up was the fantastic representation of the MC being queer, non-binary and autistic along with the added element of a murder mystery. I adored the relationship between Sam and his adopted, single father, Junius who share a beautiful, loving and compassionate bond. Junius is such a strong character who stands by Sam through and through and was a clear winner for me in this story. When Sam moves to his new school he meets Shep who tells him that the house they have relocated to witnessed a death 30 years ago. Shep is insistent that it was infact a murder not a natural death and this leads to Sam and Shep going on a thrilling mission to uncover the truth. At times I felt the plot was a little dragged and the target audience, younger than me, but overall this is an enjoyable read with plenty queer representation and characters who you will fall in love with! I truly believe this would be a fantastic book for many young adult readers out there who would connect with Sam and his exploration of self, in a heartbeat.
I knew from the minute I saw the cover (how stunning is it?!) and description of this book that I was going to love it.
The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester written by Maya MacGregor follows 18 year old Sam, a non-binary character with autism, trying to start a new life in Astoria after experiencing a traumatic event. After moving in to their new house, they find out that their living in the bedroom of a boy who mysteriously died in the 80’s and it becomes their mission to solve the so called ‘tragic accident’.
Although it was slow to start, I loved the mystery aspect and pacing towards the end of the book. This novel was the perfect combination of mystery, paranormal and queer romance. The representation was definitely a major highlight for me, with the main set of characters being non-binary, neurodiverse, queer, lesbian, bisexual, asexual and aromantic.
Thank you to NetGalley and Astra Publishing House for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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