You've Reached Sam
by Dustin Thao
If I Stay meets Your Name in this heartfelt novel about love, loss, and what it means to say goodbye.
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.
~👑Special thanks to Netgalley and Wednesday Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!👑~
This didn't break me.
And I'm sad about that.
Being the smart, intelligent, soulless being that I am... you would THINK that I have a semblance of something in my head. You know what I have? ~static~ Ergo, why I went into this book LOOKING for a heart-rending, shattering, soul-spilling story which would wake me up at dawn in reminiscence of its pain and make me bawl my eyes out.
When I read a 'sad' story, I expect to be a sobbing mess by the end of it. Which I was. A mess that is. Sobbing, well, depends on how you take the term. There were slight traces of watery liquid which may be venom or tears (we'll never know) in my eyesperes, so of course, my nose was looking like Rudolph the Reindeer. Shout out to that guy, the first thing to make me cry. Thank you.
The characters were what I might think of (I know, me. Thinking. Pffftttt) as the weak link. I never grew to deeply love any of them, so their actions didn't affect me as much as I would've expected. This is not to say that they were bad, because they weren't, however, for me to adore a book I need to at least care for the background characters. See, they all had personalities, and they all had their own problems, but it was such a lukewarm relationship between them, I was left aghast as to why they weren't connecting more.
The MC was extremely infuriating at times. And yes, I do understand her grief, and we all have different ways of coping with it (personally, mine is food and annoyance), but even before she lost someone whom she didn't deserve (*smirk), she was extremely whiny, and frankly not a very interesting person.
I said it.
She was dull.
I shall hide now.
The thing is, I really wanted to like her as a person. I wanted to feel every inch of heartbreak, alas, I felt a small portion of that same emotion that I was craving to experience (again, why am I like this). I loved how strong she was at times, but it faded into nothing once I started realizing "dang, this girl is a piece of work". Why? Well because she couldn't keep promises, was sadly naive and obviously didn't have the brain to begin to comprehend NOT TO TURN THE DANG PHONE OFF. One scene, y'all. ONE scene. And she messed it up.
You know what messed ME up? Sam. Wow, such a smart decision from yours truly! Who would've thought that Booksy would've fallen for a dead guy.
I thought that. Because I frighten myself sometimes. I'm that idiot that falls for the guy who dies in movies. The kind of idiot that clearly smacks against the glass because she didn't see it. The kind of IDIOT that got her heart shattered at the end of this book. That was one of the few moments in this story which physically hurt me. And I don't know what to feel about that.
This guy was so utterly sweet and emotionally gorgeous (it's a thing). The way he spoke and acted. The amazing relationship he had with his parents, how he was the bestest friend, and especially how he tolerated the MC for three years. I could NEVER. All of those tiny things mounted together and sprinkled with slight mentions of death, all of them made me connect with him way more than the rest of the characters mentioned in this book. I wouldn't say that I truly fell in love with him, because I didn't have the time, but I will say that he was an amazing boyfriend and an amazing reason to be emotionally numb for.
The rest of the characters as previously mentioned, didn't do much for the story, and I would've loved for it to be otherwise. Alas, not all happily ever afters are possible.
Speaking of happily ever after, let's talk a little about the plot. (y'all see that transition? It took me four hours to get it right *snort*) It was staggeringly well done, of course, some small inconsistencies peeved me but I can say that I enjoyed it immensely. The intersecting memories, the heartbreak imbued into each sentence and word, the surprising connection between past/present/dream/reality left me gobsmacked and flooding my GR updates with "OH MY GOSH, OH MY GOSH, I KNEW IT". Which I deeply apologize now. *snort* I adored the way my soul shattered at the ending pages and absolutely loved the fact that I sat in shock for a while after that.
Three things I can mention about the plot are:
1. It made me sad at times.
2. It made me frustrated at other times.
3. Ultimately all ended in me feeling numb. (and dumb, but mostly numb)
The writing also made me feel numb because it encompassed so many emotions. Also, it was so dang quotable.
And it doesn't help that the ARC sample looked like this. (I couldn't quote so bear with me, please)
If I could put washi tape on E-Arcs, trust me, I would've found a way.
In short, I loved it.
Leaving off with a small mention of the romance:
It basically called me single in 678902938476478 languages.
And I kind of feel okay with that.
Ha! No I don't. I'm not that mature.
On a closing note, this book had a lot to give, and I feel like it worked well with what it had (make of that what you will *snickering*). It was a nice 'sad' read, and I hope that it's a testament to the book not being sad enough that I didn't cry and not because I am a stone rock. Which slightly works, but I identify as smudgy pretzel.
All in all, it was entertaining, and I think if it had better character building, I would've enjoyed it a hecka lot more.
I still want to throw whatever the heck the MC's name was, under a truck.
I would most likely recommend this book to those who are slight masochists and want to feel something, once in a while. Who obviously want to tear up in the last chapter and come on, if you don't like it, I can read your rants! Oh, And you could maybe skip all the MC's lines. They are of no consequence.
Disclaimer: Any and all opinions said up there are my own, and please feel free to call me out for any errors or any offensive comments, so I can get right on it and get it fixed!
My awesome friend and I changing the name of this book never fails to remind me, woah. We're a different kind of special.
Son of Sam
Bye Bye Sam
Hey Sam, it's Me
Sam yo it's your homie
Sam I miss your face
I Miss You Sam, it's Sheila
Sam I miss you
Calling Sam, Please Hold
Sam this is the voicemail
Running with Sam
Sam is you present
Sam, where art thou?
Sam, get yo food
Hellooooo, it's me. I was woooondering if afterrr all these years you'd like to meeeeet. Sorry, the opportunity was too much to miss.