In this queer contemporary YA mystery, a nonbinary autistic teen realizes they must not only solve a 30-year-old mystery but also face the demons lurking in their past in order to live a satisfying life.
THE MANY HALF-LIVED LIVES OF SAM SYLVESTER
by Maya MacGregor
Boyds, Mills & Kane/Astra, May 2022
(via KT Literary)
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. . . .
But Sam’s life seems to be on the upswing after meeting several new friends and a potential love interest in Shep, their next-door neighbor. Yet the past keeps roaring back—in Sam’s memories and in the form of a thirty-year-old suspicious death that took place in Sam’s new home. Sam can’t resist trying to find out more about the kid who died and who now seems to guide their investigation. When Sam starts receiving threatening notes, they know they’re on the path to uncovering a murderer. But are they digging through the past or digging their own future grave?
THE MANY HALF-LIVED LIVES OF SAM SYLVESTER explores healing in the aftermath of trauma and the fullness of queer joy.
“This captivating story centers a memorable, relatable protagonist surrounded by a lovable ensemble cast. The central mystery is gripping and fast-paced, but the book never fails to give all the characters motivations and backstories, making even the tertiary characters feel lived-in enough to be believable…A thrilling debut featuring lovable and well-developed characters. » —Kirkus, starred review
“Sam’s intimate developing relationships and outwardly bright future provide respite and optimism, even as they battle internal fears for the future. Equal parts delicate and devastating, MacGregor’s thought-provoking prose, evocative settings, and vividly characterized cast combine to provide a hopeful look at survival and closure.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
Maya MacGregor is a writer, singer, and artist. They sing and write in Gàidhlig and in English. You can find their bilingual work on tor.com, in Steall magazine (summer 2020), and Uncanny magazine, with poetry in Poets’ Republic and elsewhere. They sing with the Glasgow Gaelic Musical Association, the Alba Choir, and Fuaran. THE MANY HALF-LIVED LIVES OF SAM SYLVESTER is their first young adult novel.