DEAR EVAN HANSEN: THE NOVEL

by Val Emmich with Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul

When one of Evan's letters to himself is accidentally found on a suicide victim, the victim's family assumes that he was a close friend.

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What people are saying on Twitter (sample)

  • I just really wanna buy Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel as well as Gmorning, Gnight by @Lin_Manuel .. But I'm on a book… https://t.co/dem8vYvfsp
  • “If she sits next to me in this small booth, I may have to…” https://t.co/6Wo00xs5S7
  • My professor oddly enough recommended the book with no indication she even seen the musical. I'm kinda curious if… https://t.co/1dnfKDwABH
  • EW talks YA: Reviews of a bittersweet gay rom-com, the Dear Evan Hansen novel, and more https://t.co/I054Kd1zRy
  • “I’m left with a loneliness so overpowering it threatens to…” https://t.co/6Wo00xs5S7
  • 25 positive comments

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    11 negative comments

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    What people are saying on Amazon (sample)

    • Well worth the struggle to obtain an ARC. So so beautiful and so so sad and so so real. It didn't seem possible that I could love a story more than I loved Ben Platt as Evan Hansen. But this did the job. The writing is lovely and sets the perfect tone for the anxiety and fear and flat-0ut terror Evan encounters during the seemingly mundane encounters of life. Big big props to these writers for doing the play justice. I'm impressed
    • It was, to say the least, a rollercoaster of emotions. I really enjoyed how they wrote Connor, even when he was dead, and how they gave him more of a backstory. They also characterized Jared a lot more than in the musical (at least compared to the cast recording), and they added in a character we never knew we needed. This book touches on all kinds of subjects, and I highly recommend it, along with a box of tissues.
    • Evan Hansen’s chance encounter and brief conversation with Connor Murphy snowball into a series of unanticipated consequences. Following Connor’s suicide, his parents contact Evan whom they believe is Connor’s best friend. A letter Evan wrote to himself, beginning “Dear Evan Hansen” - at his therapist’s request had been found on Connor’s body; this formed the basis for the Murphys’ requesting a meeting with Evan. As the novel moves forward, Evan becomes a part of the Murphy family, something about which his mother knows nothing. Busy working full time and attending school, she worries about Evan and his lack of social interaction, but believes he is handling their situation well. When Evan begins to understand the depth of his fostering the misconception that he was Connor’s best friend, he attempts to correct that error. Although it will cost him the new found status he acquires as co-president of the organization he founds, he does the right thing. The concluding portions of the novel are unexpected, but satisfying.Val Emmich et al have written an extraordinary novel that touches on numerous critically important issues. Isolation, teen suicide, social media’s power, sexuality, and family all play roles in “Dear Evan Hansen”. Characters are believable; the depth of understanding the authors display with regard to the issues and youth are vital to not only the book but to our own lives, as well. The use of the first person narrative, as well as Connor’s comments interspersed throughout the text, increase the intimate feel of the topics discussed.“Dear Evan Hansen” is an outstanding novel that parents/grandparents should also read as it will form the basis for some serious discussions with the ‘tweens and teens in their lives.
    • As a theater lover who lives on the West Coast I was saddened when I could not get to New York prior to Ben Platt leaving the show. While the touring company will be coming to the West Coast I didn't want to wait to know exactly what the storyline was all about. I have listened to the Original Cast Recording over and over again and while love the music it is hard to see the story line.After reading Dear Evan Hansen the novel. I finally get and understand the story. It is a well thought out and very well presented plot. Far more intricate than I had even imagined.There are a couple of places where the authors actually used the song lyrics to move the novel along. Most notably when Zoe is singing"I Will Sing No Requiem." I truly wish that all the song lyrics from all the songs were made a part of the novel. Songs are used in musicals to move the story along in a special way. It could work equally as well in the novel.
    • DEH fanboys and girls, those who have or haven't yet seen the show, and those who don't care about musicals at all -- this book will satisfy them all. NO SPOILERS in this review, just a rundown of what I loved and didn't love.I'm a person who can't tolerate sloppy or clichéd prose, and YA literature is rife with it. This book is a happy exception. It's very well written and briskly plotted, with well-drawn characters I could easily picture in my own mind. The high-quality writing is the best part of the book, and in my opinion the most important part of any fiction book.Evan Hansen, the protagonist, is a bundle of neuroses, self-doubt, and self-loathing. For me, that got tiring after a bit, but I'm no longer a teenager. It might be that if I were 16 or 17 I'd feel a lot more empathy. Even so, Evan is likable enough to sympathize with, despite his many incredibly obvious blunders and history of awful decision-making. The ancillary characters are all vivid and well fleshed out, mostly representing high school "types" we all know well. I did feel that, in terms of character development, the adults are more sketched-out than thoroughly explored. I think this is true to the teenage mind, though, which conceives of adults as somewhat mysterious and capricious, and EH is a teen speaking in the first person, so it's appropriate.I haven't seen the show or heard the cast album, but after reading the book, I looked up the plot of the show. It appears that there is an important character added in this book that helps flesh out Connor's story. And Connor's story is left somewhat ambiguous; we're teased with a was-he-or-wasn't-he question that's never answered. That left me a little frustrated, because it felt a bit like the writer backed off a potentially controversial character trait by leaving it open. But that's a minor flaw. Overall, I was very surprised at how much I, a grown adult with no particular interest in YA fiction, enjoyed the writing, the characters, and the experience of reading the book.FOR PARENTS -- no spoilers of plot, but a couple notes on content, so don't read on if you don't want to know any more.There is a suicide in the book. It's not described and there's nothing graphic, but the aftermath reverberates throughout the story. So this may not be a great book for younger kids struggling with self-harm and depression. There is also a relentless emphasis on Evan's mental health struggles. If your child suffers from panic, social anxiety, or depression, I'd suggest you read the book yourself and decide whether your kid will feel empathy and relief at reading about others fighting the same battles, or whether the content might trigger more morbid feelings.