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In this queer contemporary YA mystery, a nonbinary teen with autism 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’s not overly optimistic about their recent move to the small town of Astoria, Oregon after a traumatic experience in their last home in the rural Midwest.

Yet Sam’s life seems to be on the upswing after meeting several new friends and a potential love interest in Shep, the pretty neighbor. However, Sam can’t seem to let go of what might have been, and is drawn to investigate the death of a teenage boy in 1980s Astoria. Sam’s convinced he was murdered–especially since Sam’s investigation seems to resurrect some ghosts in the town.

Threatening notes and figures hidden in shadows begin to disrupt Sam’s life. Yet Sam continues to search for the truth. When Sam discovers that they may be closer to a killer than previously known, Sam has a difficult decision to make. Would they risk their new life for a half-lived one?

“A top-notch blend of contemporary fiction and mystery with a satisfying conclusion [. . .] A thrilling debut.” –Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Maya MacGregor’s debut will keep you on your toes until all is revealed!” –Nerd Daily

“Readers will leave this poetic book feeling that Sam and the people surrounding them are completely real, along with the ghosts of Astoria.” –Booklist

“Exhilarating […] Equal parts delicate and devastating.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A spine-tingling and romantic, character-driven story.” -School Library Journal, starred review

Maya in the Wild

TuesdayAugust 9, 2022

7:00 pm

ThursdaySeptember 22, 2022

Hazlehead Academy LibraryHazlehead Academy

WayWORD Festival Aberdeen

TuesdayOctober 25, 2022

7:00 pm

“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

"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. [...] A thrilling debut."

Kirkus Reviews

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!

Mimi Koehler for The Nerd Daily