You’ve Reached Sam: Overcoming Grief


Photo by Hannah Roberts

“You’ve Reached Sam” is a debut novel by author Dustin Thao that follows Julie as she recovers from her boyfriend Sam’s death. Throughout the story Julie is able to grieve in a way that is far from normal. She has the ability to call Sam and talk to him despite him being dead. The story also follows past memories of Sam and Julie’s relationship. The reader follows Julie as she tries to live her life without Sam constantly in it.

Hannah Roberts, Staff Reporter

  “You’ve Reached Sam” is a story of overcoming grief in a different way than normal. The story combines traditional forms of grief like sadness and anger with something new. 

  The story follows Julie after her boyfriend Sam dies. In a fit of sadness, Julie throws out almost everything Sam left at her house. She also deletes all his messages and phone calls and voicemails. 

  As time goes on Julie realizes that she made a mistake by getting rid of all his memories. Julie decides to dial his number just to maybe see if it was all somehow a joke. To see if Sam is really alive. She doesn’t actually expect him to pick up but then he does. 

  A rush of emotions comes over Julie most of all confusion. She wonders how it could be possible. Sam confirms that he’s dead but yet Julie is still talking to him. 

  Over the course of the story, Julie keeps on calling Sam so as to not let him go. She starts to rely on phone calls to be happy and feel comfort. But Sam knows it can’t last forever. 

  Sam tells Julie that she needs to stop calling him and move on with her life both for herself and for him. Julie doesn’t want to listen, she doesn’t want to let go.

  “You’ve Reached Sam” is beautiful from start to finish. It provides a look into what it’s like to lose a loved one.

  The story perfectly combines realism and fantasy to create an interesting and beautifully-written story that keeps the reader engaged from page one.