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The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester

Reviewed by

Kate

Posted by

Countylib

Category

Posted

March 11, 2023

After a traumatic hate crime, Sam—white, nonbinary, and autistic—moved with their single Black adoptive father to the small town of Astoria, Oregon. They’re finally able to meet other queer teenagers, like Shep, their pretty neighbor who quickly becomes their closest friend.

After learning of the 30-year-old unsolved murder of a teenager named Billy, Sam and Shep believe that Sam’s new house might be figuratively haunted by ghosts of the past, and they become determined to prove that what happened to Billy was not accidental. This brings out the ghosts of the town, forcing Sam to decide what they’re willing to pay in order for the truth.

While the central mystery surrounding Billy’s death makes for a page-turner with truly chilling moments, the author stays focused on the characters, filling the story with a deeply lovable cast and nailing the realities faced by Sam.

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