My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Title: You’ve Reached Sam
Author: Dustin Thao
Format: ebooks (borrowed)
Publication Date: 11/9/21
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Categories: Grief, Romance, Coming of Age
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.
Content Warning: Grief, Death of Loved One
First off, I love this book cover, it’s so pretty and perfectly reflects the story. Julie and Sam had future plans but the future changes when Sam dies in a car accident.
Julie is grieving and grieving has many stages – we see Julie go through lot of them in this story about love, death and letting go. As a character Julie comes off as unlikable but what do we really know about her outside of grieving Sam? I’ve experienced grief but not in high school, when you are young and think life is so long. Some people see Julie as selfish for not attending any of Sam’s memorials or even the funeral, others know to give her space and maybe a break. Everyone grieves differently. I did find it kind of wild that she was trying to get rid of some of Sam’s things a week after he died. Like…I know we all grieve differently but wow, I couldn’t part with my late husband’s things after just a week, even if it was hard to look at it.
I thought talking with Sam through the phone was interesting. It definitely helped her get through some of the beginning stages of losing Sam but other than that, I didn’t see the point except when we hear Sam’s explanation. That part almost made the tears come – almost! I thought it would be super emotional for me but surprisingly, it wasn’t as heartbreaking as I thought it would be. I think it’s because there really wasn’t any conflict between Sam and Julie until the night of the accident, which sucks bad, but everyone can see how it was an accident and that they were crazy about one another. Strangely, I felt it was more meaningful when Sam got to talk to Mika and his brother, because they were having a hard time with his death.
As for Julie moving on – I didn’t feel like she really did have a life outside of Sam. Her connection to her friends wasn’t a strong one, the one she did seem close to, Mika (Sam’s cousin) – was someone she pushed away the moment Sam dies. I thought that sucked for Mika who clearly needed a friend and someone who knew Sam like she did. But the great thing about her is that she does try her best to move on with the help of Sam and her friends.
Why you should read it:
- takes a look at grieving and the different ways people grieve
- Sam and Julie’s sweet love story
- see how Julie learns to move on
Why you might not want to read it:
- didn’t really connect to the characters
- at some points Julie comes off as unlikable but she’s grieving, she’s in high school on the verge of graduating and lost her first love in a tragic accident but she does come off as immature as times
For me this book was okay – I was expecting to be bawling my eyes out but I didn’t. In a way I’m relieved I didn’t cry my eyes out but I wanted to feel more than I did. This is a story that takes a look at grieving and moving on. Julie does move on, with a little help from Sam.
📚 ~ Yolanda
Quote from the Book:
Letting go isn’t about forgetting. It’s balancing moving forward with life, and looking back from time to time, remembering the people in it.”-Dustin Thao, You’ve Reached Sam