27 Mar 2023

Review: YOU'VE REACHED SAM by Dustin Thao


Author: Dustin Thao
Series: N/A
Source: Audio from Audible
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: November 9, 2021

Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:

Representation: Vietnamese American main character and love interest 

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.
Amazon | Chapters | TBD
Content Warning: Racism; Grief & loss depiction (theme); Death of a boyfriend; Car accident

A really great novel that I thought dealt with death and grief in a realistic way. But because of the comparisons and hype, I just couldn't quite get there for the emotional aspects. I really liked the story and thought that if this had just been about learning to let go, this would have been a hundred times better.

But the "supernatural" portion of it, combined with not really getting to know Sam and only seeing him through the phone and some flashbacks, made me not enjoy it nearly as much as I would have liked. Sam didn't seem like a great person in the ways we got to see him and it just made me feel like Julie shouldn't have called him as much, tbh.

On top of that, I saw it compared to Your Name and it was NOT as emotional as that AT ALL. I thought that it was actually a bit emotionally stunted because of the way grief was depicted and a bit of a supernatural cop-out in my opinion.

I do recommend it, though!

Have you read this series? Are you going to pick this up?

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