Truths I Learned from Sam


2016 SYRCA Snow Willow Award — Shortlisted

It’s the best summer of Dani’s life, until the bottom falls out.

Dani’s mother is getting married – again – because that’s what she does, and while she and her new husband jet around Europe for six weeks, seventeen-year-old Dani is sent to stay with an uncle she didn’t know she had in a small community in Cariboo country she didn’t know existed. It promises to be the summer from hell. But Dani’s uncle turns out to be an okay guy. In fact, Dani really likes him. And she finds romance, too.

Suddenly, a summer that had doom written all over it turns into one of the best times of Dani’s life. Until the bottom falls out. In a story about relationships and about how bad things happen to good people, Dani discovers that sometimes the only villain is life itself.


SYRCA Snow Willow Award


The heart of the novel is Dani’s relationship with Sam. Butcher handles the pair’s growing bond gently and convincingly, while showing compassion and understanding for her teenage protagonist.

Quill & Quire (April, 2013)

What I particularly enjoyed about this novel was its depiction of love. It does not sugar coat it, but presents it in its most raw form. This is both crushing and beautiful. By showcasing how love is rarely a fairy tale ending it removes the all-too-common “True Love” delusion, hopefully helping to facilitate healthy and long lasting relationships. This has definitely filled a gaping hole in our popular fiction in recent literature, and does so in a beautiful way.

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Told with a teen's characteristically exaggerated narrative, the story - while certainly not happy ever after - offers much to smile over. Truths I Learned from Sam will also be a good introduction to this Canadian author's worthy list of more than 20 titles for young people.

Butcher’s depiction of life in rural BC shows a remarkable acumen, if not lived experience.

Truths I Learned From Sam is a fine coming of age tale, not to be missed.

Midwest Book Review

Truths I Learned from Sam . . . is a sensitive, compelling story about a 17-year-old who finds meaning in her life in an unexpected place.

The Winnipeg Free Press (June, 2013)

Readers will be impressed and engaged by Dani’s resourcefulness and entrepreneurial spirit. She brings people together and creates opportunities for the community of Farrow, actions which, in turn, help take the edge of her grief.

Canadian Materials magazine (April, 2015)

About the Author

Kristin Butcher

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

Kristin Butcher

Kristin Butcher is the author of twenty books for children. She has been shortlisted for the Silver Birch Award, the CLA Children's Book of the Year, the Red Cedar Award, the IODE Violet Downey Book Award, and the Manitoba Young Reader's Choice Award, among others. Kristin lives in Campbell River, British Columbia.