You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao

Disclaimer: I received this e-book from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: You’ve Reached Sam

Author: Dustin Thao

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 3.5/5

Diversity: Asian Characters, Queer Characters

Recommended For…: young adult readers, contemporary, paranormal, romance, grief processing

Publication Date: November 9, 2021

Genre: YA Contemporary Paranormal Romance

Recommended Age: 13+ (death, grief, underage consumption of alcohol, racism, language, bullying)

Explanation of CWs: Death and grief are the main focal point of the book. There are a couple of scenes of underage consumption of alcohol. There is some racism and bullying shown in the book. There is some cursing in the books.

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Pages: 304

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Julie has her future all planned out—move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes.

Heartbroken, Julie skips his funeral, throws out his things, and tries everything to forget him and the tragic way he died. But a message Sam left behind in her yearbook forces back memories. Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cellphone just to listen to his voicemail.

And Sam picks up the phone.

In a miraculous turn of events, Julie’s been given a second chance at goodbye. The connection is temporary. But hearing Sam’s voice makes her fall for him all over again, and with each call it becomes harder to let him go. However, keeping her otherworldly calls with Sam a secret isn’t easy, especially when Julie witnesses the suffering Sam’s family is going through. Unable to stand by the sidelines and watch their shared loved ones in pain, Julie is torn between spilling the truth about her calls with Sam and risking their connection and losing him forever.

Review: For the most part I liked this book. I loved the premise of it and it kind of reminded me of a Reddit post I saw one day. The book does great at showing the grieving process and how teens deal with death. However, the book is ultimately about how if you hold onto the past then you can’t live on in the present and into the future. The book had great character development and world building.

However, I felt like the book had some areas that needed some work. A lot of things that happen in the book are just about grieving and going over the same things the book went over previously. The book kept repeating a lot of things and it made it hard to keep reading and with the slow pacing it made it hard to keep going. The ending that exists in this book is very out of place. An event happens in the last 10% of the book and it’s rushed through. I wish that ending was pushed back some more so we got more out of it. The book also occasionally showed other characters interacting with Sam, but no one thought it was weird or that Julie was having a breakdown. Overall, the book had a great concept but weird execution.

Verdict: It was good, just a little weird.