Field of Gold by Erik-Jan Leusink on Unsplash: You've Reached Sam by Dustin Thao (The Modest Reader)

Book Review: You’ve Reached Sam

Another day, another YA story with a beautiful cover that sucked me in. I really appreciate the fact that Wednesday Books are so great to me in giving me advanced copies of their books—though I did miss the release date on You’ve Reached Sam because of this crazy year. I was drawn to this book because it takes place where a lot of stories would usually end: after the love story. I wanted to see how and if Julie would move on and how she would accept the death of her boyfriend. I expected this one to need multiple tissues, and I had them at the ready.

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.

My musings
You know when you feel like you need a good cry, so you pick up a book that you think will help get the job done? This is what I wanted for You’ve Reached Sam. But alas, I didn’t cry. I didn’t even come close. Not because what was being said wasn’t emotional, but because Julie was so unlikeable to me that I couldn’t really feel sympathetic toward her. Sure, her boyfriend dies, and I’m sure that’s traumatizing, but she treats every single other person in her life like actual garbage that I’m not sure why anyone stayed being friends with her or why Sam wanted to date her in the first place. If anything, I wanted this story to be more about Sam’s best friend, Oliver, or Julie’s bookstore friend Tristan, because they seemed much more compelling to me.

It’s very possible that this just wasn’t quite the story I needed in my life right now, because I see through other reviews that *a ton* of people liked it, so you really should give it a shot if you think the story is up your alley, but I think I needed a little more history on Julie and Sam to get caught up in their love story. It’s not for me, but that doesn’t mean you won’t love it.


You've Reached Sam (Book Cover) by Dustin Thao: The Modest Reader

“We have too many voices inside our heads. You have to pick out the ones that mean something to you. What story do you want to tell?” —Dustin ThaoYou’ve Reached Sam

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Wednesday Books for the advanced copy, and to Erik-Jan Leusink on Unsplash for the featured photo.

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