HomeBooks To ReadBook Review: You've Reached Sam: By Dustin Thao

Book Review: You’ve Reached Sam: By Dustin Thao

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Author’s note

You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao was a very emotional read for me as I had gone through grief a short time ago. This book helped me reminisce about my journey through grief and how challenging it was for me to overcome it. Journaling was one of the tools that helped me to cope with grief. There might be people among us still recovering through this tough phase, and to those people, I would like to say that I hear you, I see you.

The genre of this story is young adult/ romance; however, as a reader, I found it more appealing as a story about a grief survivor through the language of fiction in the best way possible.

I hope you have a great perusal 🙂

The storyline

The plot is about the protagonist, Julie, going through a very tough phase of grief from losing her boyfriend and getting consumed by guilt, regret, and pain following his departure. The story gets a grip once Julie calls her dead boyfriend, Sam, out of desperation. Eventually, Sam picks up the call and starts a conversation with Julie like before. While Julie tried to forget about Sam to move on with her life and abandon herself from friends and family, this one call brought her back on track. With Sam on the line, she could reconnect with her present life and believe they’d been given a second chance.

But how long do second chances last?


I truly enjoyed characters like Mr. Lee, Oliver, and Mika, who made Julie’s journey much more pleasant. Mr. Lee owns the bookshop where Julie works and where she first met Sam. Mr. Lee is peculiar because he treats books as people and believes they are full of life. Oliver was their best friend. However, he didn’t get along with Julie in the past. However, the readers get to see a friendship blossoming between the two as they recover from grief. Mika is Sam’s cousin and shares a very sweet bond with Julie; Mika plays the role of a sibling in Sam’s life. As the story progresses, Julie realizes that it isn’t only her but the people around her who suffer from grief in their own ways. 


  • “You don’t write to get to the end. You write because you enjoy doing it. You write and don’t want it to end.”
  • “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.”
  • “The world keeps moving, no matter what happens to you.”
  • “If the ending is this painful, I don’t know if this was worth it all.”
  • “I always feel at home when I’m in the store. I could spend hours and hours here. There’s a comfort in being surrounded by walls of books.”
  • “Before he’s gone, I grab a single petal and hold it tight against my chest. But somehow, it slips through my fingers and vanishes into the sky. Just like the rest of him.”

Asian culture

The Asian cultural aspect of the tale was expressed quite positively. The origin of Sam’s family is in Japan, even though he was brought up abroad. There are instances where I got to see the Asian cultural aspect in the story, like when students in school plan on starting an Asian study club, when Yuki, Julie, Oliver, and the others set out memory lanterns onto the sky, and much more. As an Asian, I felt profoundly happy reading about how different cultures can unite different people under one umbrella, even in those darkest times of their lifetime. I appreciate the author, Dustin Thao, for giving life to these precious characters through his piece of work.

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Neelima ks
This is Neelima, she is a bookworm and an aspiring journalist. She is also a passionate writer, believes it’s a form of art that peels off her soul which soaks up knowledge and wisdom. Her favourite genre is historical-fiction, along with a steamy cup of strong coffee. She embraces sea-breathe and worships the sea god Poseidon, loves to slip her feet beneath the turquoise water even though she isn’t a swimmer.

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