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Published by: The Dial Press
Release Date: January 3, 2023
Pages: 336
ISBN13: 978-0593447819


There is a girl, and her name is Sam. She adores her father, though he isn’t around much. Her mother, Courtney, struggles to make ends meet, and never fails to remind her daughter that her life should be different. Sam doesn’t fit in at school, where the other girls have the right shade of blue jeans and don’t question the rules. Sam doesn’t care about jeans or rules. She just loves to climb--trees, fences, walls, the side of a building. When she’s climbing, she discovers a place she belongs: she can turn off her brain, pain has a purpose, and it’s okay if you want to win.

As Sam grows into her teens, she grapples with self-doubt and insecurity. She yearns for her climbing coach to notice her, but his attention crosses boundaries she doesn't know how to resist. She wishes her father would leave for good, instead of always coming and going, but once he’s gone, she realizes how much she’s lost. She rages against her mother’s constant pressure to plan for a more secure future. Wrestling with who she wants to be in the face of what she’s expected to do, Sam comes to understand that she alone can make her dreams come true.

Allegra Goodman’s beautiful and wise novel Sam is deceptively simple: it is about a girl who becomes a woman. But underneath its straightforward chronology and spare sentences lie layers of extraordinary depth, sensitivity, and tenderness. This unforgettable ode to girlhood asks, What happens to a child's sense of joy and belonging--her belief in herself--as she grows up? The answer will break your heart, but will also leave you full of hope.

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"Sam is about as perfect of a coming-of-age story as I have ever read."
—Jenna Bush Hager

"Sam is one of the most evocative and tender examinations of youth that I’ve ever read, and Allegra Goodman fully understands the strange and dreamlike qualities of Sam’s world as she tries to navigate it, populated by adults who mean well but complicate every single moment. One of the best writers around, Goodman has made something truly beautiful, evoking a feeling that is hard to name but stirs inside us with every line."
—Kevin Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Nothing to See Here

"What seems at first to be a simple coming-of-age story deepens under its own weight and shows itself to be a beautiful meditation on all the ways we love and fail each other. I was moved by the cumulative power of Sam, and I’m still rooting for the characters."
—Ann Napolitano, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Edward

"I’ve been an Allegra Goodman fan for years, but Sam is hands down my new favorite. I loved this powerful and endearing portrait of a girl who must summon deep within herself the grit and wisdom to grow up."
—Lily King, New York Times bestselling author of Writers & Lovers

"Allegra Goodman knows. She knows families, their griefs and rages, their love and loss: complicated parents and complicated children. In Sam, she goes deep into the heart and soul and voice of one girl. Sam is a deeply wise and empathetic portrait of this unforgettable girl, making her way, into this tricky world and into the reader's life."
Amy Bloom, New York Times best selling author of In Love