When I was asked if I would like to review a copy of The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester by Maya Mac Gregor, I jumped at the chance. I knew my daughter would love it but I had to read it myself first. As I always say, you shouldn’t overlook Young Adult books, even if you think they are for teens. I thoroughly enjoyed this read.
Sam Sylvester has long collected stories of half-lived lives – of kids who died before they turned nineteen. Sam was almost one of those kids. Now, as Sam’s own nineteenth birthday approaches, their recent near-death experience haunts them, they’re certain they don’t have much time left…
My Review of The many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester
Sam Sylvester is a non-binary autistic teen. Their pronouns are They/Them and it’s usually the first thing they say when introduced to anyone. They were adopted by their Dad, Junius Sylvester, who actually sounds like the best Dad!
Sam collects stories of young people who died before the age of nineteen and seems to believe that they too will not make it past their nineteenth birthday. We hear that they had a near death experience quite early on but it takes them a long time to explain what happened. The experience was enough to uproot them and take them to a whole new town of Astoria. And a new house where Sam immediately discovers was the former home of one of their studies, Billy, who died there before he was nineteen. Sam becomes convinced that Billy was murdered and they want to solve it, even if it means putting their own life in danger.
The story is fast paced and definitely a page turner. It also features the LGBTIA+ community, and Sam is a teenager with Autism. It does show the darker side of the community but finally Sam has found a group in which they can finally belong.
We follow Sam as they start a new school, make new friends, get used to a new home and solve a 30 year old murder mystery. It’s all action with a little bit of romance and supernatural mystery.