The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester (Hardcover)

The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester By Maya MacGregor Cover Image

The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester (Hardcover)

$17.99


Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
“Look no further for your next favorite read, because The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester has it all: a gripping murder mystery that will keep you turning pages, ghosts, romance, and a treasure trove of queer characters with depth and heart. Here’s something rare—a suspenseful story that also feels like a hug.” —Sarah Glenn Marsh, author of the Reign of the Fallen series

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.


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.
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.
Product Details ISBN: 9781635923599
ISBN-10: 163592359X
Publisher: Astra Young Readers
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2022
Pages: 360
Language: English
“Look no further for your next favorite read, because The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester has it all: a gripping murder mystery that will keep you turning pages, ghosts, romance, and a treasure trove of queer characters with depth and heart. Here’s something rare—a suspenseful story that also feels like a hug.” —Sarah Glenn Marsh, author of the Reign of the Fallen series

★ "A top-notch blend of contemporary fiction and mystery with a satisfying conclusion...Blending and transcending genres, the book’s beautiful storytelling and the rich voice of the prose at times evoke poetry. 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 Reviews, 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

"This vibrantly written debut novel masterfully blends a suspenseful and satisfying paranormal mystery with a sweet and tender love story. Nearly all the main and secondary characters identify as LGBTQIA+ and are fully developed with their own quirks and arcs." —School Library Journal, starred review


"While the central mystery...makes for a page-turner with truly chilling moments, MacGregor stays focused on the characters, filling the story with a deeply lovable cast of characters and nailing the realities faced by Sam. Readers will leave this poetic book feeling that Sam and the people surrounding them are completely real, along with the ghosts of Astoria."Booklist

"Featuring ghosts, haunted pasts, a touch of romance and a ton of fantastic diversity and disability representation—all headed by its lovable protagonist—The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester is a gripping mystery novel with a truly satisfying conclusion. Watch out, folks, Maya MacGregor’s debut will keep you on your toes until all is revealed!"Nerd Daily