Monday, March 18, 2019

Review-Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich et. al

About the Book

Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich et. al
Published on October 9, 2018 by Poppy

GoodReads Description

From the show's creators comes the groundbreaking novel inspired by the Broadway smash hit Dear Evan Hansen.

Dear Evan Hansen,

Today's going to be an amazing day and here's why...

When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family's grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. He just has to stick to a lie he never meant to tell, that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend.

Suddenly, Evan isn't invisible anymore--even to the girl of his dreams. And Connor Murphy's parents, with their beautiful home on the other side of town, have taken him in like he was their own, desperate to know more about their enigmatic son from his closest friend. As Evan gets pulled deeper into their swirl of anger, regret, and confusion, he knows that what he's doing can't be right, but if he's helping people, how wrong can it be?

No longer tangled in his once-incapacitating anxiety, this new Evan has a purpose. And a website. He's confident. He's a viral phenomenon. Every day is amazing. Until everything is in danger of unraveling and he comes face to face with his greatest obstacle: himself.

A simple lie leads to complicated truths in this big-hearted coming-of-age story of grief, authenticity and the struggle to belong in an age of instant connectivity and profound isolation.

My Thoughts

I'll be honest with you here.  I bought this book on a whim.  I happened to see that it was half off at Barnes and Noble and knew that a lot of people liked it.  This is DEFINITELY one of the best whims that I have ever taken a chance on.  I LOVED THIS BOOK.

Before buying this book, I had never even heard of the Dear Evan Hansen musical.  That seems to be what happens when you live in the absolute middle of nowhere.  I started blogging as a way to keep in touch with the bookish world, and here we are two years later with no clue.  But, I digress.

I strongly believe that every middle school and high school teacher needs to read this book.  It is a stark reminder of all of the things that can be going through our students' minds while we are expecting them to stay focused on whatever our content area is.  Our students have their own lives and their own issues out of school.  Too often, we neglect their present in our efforts to help them create a better future.  This book is living proof that we need to help them with both parts of their lives.

My favorite character, by far, was Connor.  I know that seems a little weird as he spends most of the book dead, but he is the one who has the easiest time staying true to himself.  Yes, he makes some bad choices.  Yes, he is another example of a student that fell through the cracks and was failed by the people around him.  However, he is also the way that Evan learns to own his truth.  He is the way that Evan's world is set right again.

Evan, although the main character, was my least favorite.  I believe that the authors did a fantastic job displaying his struggle with anxiety and depression, but I despised his willingness to let a lie live on.  Perhaps it is because of my own moral code, but a lie of that sheer size and magnitude is not one that I could ever live with.  I was just as relieved as he was when he set things back on the right course.

This was an absolutely beautifully written novel.  I am so in love with it.  It is one that I will most likely reread as each new school year begins.

My Rating

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