About the Book:
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.
What a lovely book! I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to say that this story is about how the main character Julie is dealing with the sudden loss of her boyfriend Sam. I have gravitated away from YA books over the years but I am so glad I picked this one up. Friendship, loss, grief, and moving on are all dealt with in an honest and tender way that made this book a joy to read.
“I know nothing makes sense right now. The two of us talking again. I’m sorry I don’t have all the answers for you. I wish I did.”
Julie and Sam’s relationship is revealed not only in flashbacks but in their conversations on her cell phone. Julie can only talk to Sam on their phones, and while she is talking to him, she actually begins to heal from his loss. Julie withdrew from absolutely everyone including Sam’s family and her friends when he died suddenly, and their phone conversations actually help her process her grief and her emotions in a very poignant way.
There is obviously a touch of fantasy and magical realism to this book but the prose flows so well and the story is actually so believable that is was very easy for me to accept that Sam could call Julie. She begins to work through her emotions and process the guilt she feels over Sam’s death. These sound like very heavy and emotional themes but the author’s style is so fresh that I kept reading late into the night.
Music plays a big role in this book and fits into the story perfectly. There were a few very minor plot holes but nothing that kept from enjoying this very unusual story. And yes, one of the reasons I wanted to read this book was because of the gorgeous cover! This story is a very emotional and rich book filled with memorable characters. I loved the way Julie learned and grew from the tragic events in her life and reconnected with those who were most important to her. A tender, honest book about grief and love.
“How do I know if this is real?”
“Because this is real. I’m real, Julie. You just have to believe me.”
(Thanks to the publisher for providing an advanced copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)