Samantha Dahl is a Green and childhood friend to Lucas Orfeo. Sam's dad walks her to school one day and literally hand sher over to the PSFs to be taken to Thurmond. Arriving at Thurmond, Sam meets Ruby and becomes her protector, defending her from the PSFs, even though she gets beaten for it. Ruby accidentally erases Sam's mind, wiping Sam of any memory that contains Ruby. Sam is brave and loyal and she cares deeply for Lucas and her friends.
"I want to feel every ounce of pain and happiness life can serve up, because it'll mean I've survived." - Sam, Sparks Rise
Sam grew up on Greenwood Lane in the small town of Bedford, Virginia, with her unnamed parents. Her father was a pious man, who believed in God as a being who only came to earth to execute justice, and her mother was a weak-willed woman who only did whatever her husband wanted. She was close friends with their neighbors, the Orfeo's, whose son, Lucas, becomes her best friend. Sam, Lucas, and his younger sister Mia used to play in the treehouse Mr. Orfeo built for them, which they called Greenwood, and would play out fantasy stories Lucas would write.
When the IAAN pandemic broke out and the economy crashed, the Orfeos moved away from their home in Bedford due to foreclosure, breaking Sam's heart as much as Lucas and Mia's. At some point after the Orfeos left, Sam's Psi abilities manifested; she realized she had developed a perfect memory, an aptitude that classified her as Green. After discovering Sam's powers, Mr. and Mrs. Dahl believed that their Psi daughter was a punishment sent from God to them because of humanity's sins and decided to get rid of her. One morning, they sent her to school on a Collection day - a day on which PSFs would come to the schools and take to camps all Psi children - and she was taken to Thurmond.
The Darkest Minds
Sam is shown as a very brave person who isn't afraid to take risks for her friends, including occasionally standing up against the PSFs in Thurmond. She is introduced to the book when her and Ruby both get rounded up together, and are beside each other during an Orange's escape attempt. During this, she easily stands out among the other girls – catching Ruby's attention and eventually both becoming best friends. This friendship continues for 5 years, until one day, Ruby gets teased and humiliated by a PSF. When Sam stands up for Ruby, Ruby backs out, ultimately leading to her punishment. She returns to the cabin after a few days, and Ruby, trying to comfort her, erases her memories of her. It's at this time that Sam asks for her name and crushes the urge to ever talk to Ruby, now a stranger to her, ever again. They both don't talk to each other for nearly a year before Ruby is snuck out of Thurmond with the help of the Children's League.
In The Afterlight
When Ruby turns herself in to the PSFs, she returns to Cabin 27, her former cabin. Sam, along with the other Green girls, ultimately make an appearance when they return from their duties, seeing Ruby for the first time in a long while. During Ruby's stay, Sam asks her to undo what she's done to her to make her forget. Ruby restores Sam's memories of her completely, and the two hold hands as they sleep. Before Ruby had escaped to the Control Tower, she entrusted Sam to go with the scene she made as an excuse for her to be pulled away. Through only eye contact, Sam understands and plays along. When Thurmond finally falls, Sam makes no other appearance.
Through The Dark
In Sparks Rise, Sam is reunited with her childhood best friend Lucas Orfeo after he and his fellow Reds are posted at Thurmond and reconnects with him. They attempt a daring escape, but they fail. Sam is left with a limp due to a snakebite, and Lucas is reprogrammed by the Trainers.
In Beyond The Night, Sam finds Mia after the camps are closed and bring her to the house she had hidden a unresponsive Lucas. Bounty Hunter's follow Sam home after she went to get Gas Stamps, and Lucas is taken away. Sam and Mia are brought into a facility for questioning, and Vida rescues them. They meet up with Ruby, Liam, Chubs and Vida and together they find Lucas alive in a safehouse out near Virginia. Sam and Mia tell the gang to bring them to Greenwood, and with her Orange abilities, Ruby saves Lucas and bring him back to his old self.
The Darkest Legacy
Although Sam does not make a personal appearance in The Darkest Legacy, it is mentioned that she and Lucas are living on a farm, and the houses are vibrant with Sam's bold colors, but decorated with polaroid pictures that are wholly Luca's.
Sam is shown as fearless and brave, always sticking up for Ruby when the PSFs tormented her. She is seen to be a fierce, determined girl with a strong hatred for the camp. She is protective of younger Ruby and acted as Ruby's only true friend growing up in Thurmond. Sam is shown as full of grit and kindness towards the protagonist. In The Darkest Minds, it reads, '"We'll be fine," Sam had told me one night, just before they turned the lights out. "No matter what--you hear me?"' (27).
Sam is described by Ruby in The Darkest Minds, where she says she has long tangled dark blond hair, and fierce-looking dark eyes. She has a small pink scar that curves between her top lip and her nose, and the first time Ruby sees her, she notices that someone had cut the wires from her braces, but had left the metal nubs glued to her front teeth.
In Sparks Rise, Lucas describes Sam as being ruff and skinny, with honey colored hair and brown eyes.
Sam and Ruby were best friends during their incarceration at Thurmond and they were bunkmates.
Sam and Lucas were childhood best-friends before Lucas moved away and Sam got sent to Thurmond. Sam sees Lucas again when he's assigned to her cabin block as a guard. Sam feels shock when she sees Lucas and identifies him as a Red. At first Sam thinks Lucas doesn't recognize her, but when she gets put in the cages and he's asked to stay behind and guard her, he sings This Little Light of Mine which proves that he remembers her. When Sam gets bitten by the snake and taken to the Infirmary, she constantly says Lucas' name. When Lucas kisses her before they try to escape, she feels dizzy, a good dizzy.
Sam is a Green, which mean she has some kind of enhanced intelligence. Sam has a very strong photographic memory, and because of that her mind takes a snapshot of everything her eyes have landed on, tucking them away in her mind like a filing cabinet, organized and in the right place. She describes it as a blessing and a curse, unable to forget the harsh world of Thurmond but a blessing to be able to recognize Lucas when he comes to Thurmond.
"I recognize him the way you recognize the sun on your skin after spending to much time in the shade."
"Not even a hundred years would have been enough for me to forget that belongs to Lucas Orfeo."
"I fought so hard to keep his voice from disappearing. Sammy Sunshine. I can hear him say it even now as he chased me up the tree trunk of our treehouse, his hair shining like a raven's wing."
"I want to feel every ounce of pain and happiness life can serve up, because it'll mean I've survived."
"Don't be afraid. Don't let them see."