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Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel by Val Emmich
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Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel (original 2018; edition 2018)

by Val Emmich (Author)

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4481740,141 (3.93)None
** INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER ** USA TODAY BESTSELLER WSJ BESTSELLER INDIE BOUND BESTSELLER From the show's creators comes the groundbreaking novel inspired by the hit Broadway show 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.… (more)
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Title:Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel
Authors:Val Emmich (Author)
Info:Poppy (2018), 368 pages
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Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel by Val Emmich (2018)

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
I dragged my feet over this one, even in the reading of it. Given the subject matter, I couldn’t add it to a school library collection without reading it first,, and enough students have asked for it that I finally decided it they shouldn’t have to wait.
Opening with what is effectively a suicide note from an as-yet-unnamed character, Dear Evan Hansen depicts a boy with debilitating social anxiety whose therapist has set him the task of writing positive letters to himself. On the first day of his Senior year, Evan writes an honest not-so-positive letter to himself describing his despair about his social invisibility and inability to interact with others. A couple of days after he leaves the letter in the school printer, it is found in the possession of a boy (Connor) who has committed suicide. Since it was addressed to him, Connor’s parents assume they were friends and a fictional friendship is born.
A lot of the book is a critique about outsourcing parenting: “But you see, any time my Mum got a glimpse of the raw me, she couldn’t take it. There’d be so much fear in her eyes. There was love too - I saw it. But the fear… that’s what stuck with me.” Connor tells us from beyond the grave. “My mother preferred to delegate. She treated me like one of her home renovation projects. Hire help. Call in the specialists. The best in the business. Let’s get this kid fixed up.” Meanwhile, Evan is exasperated with his nurse-Mum’s sudden attention: “One suicide and suddenly my Mum’s paying all this attention.” Neither of these scenarios seems especially real, and I resent the sense that all it takes is good parenting to make suicidal thoughts vanish.
Although the book tackles grief/guilt -which are intertwined well here - from a variety of angles (Connor’s Dad’s denial, his Mum’s effusive attempts to woo Connor’s ‘best friend’, Evan’s Mum’s continual checking up on her son, the whole school’s obsession with a boy they’d ignored), the only reaction that seemed real to me was Connor’s sister, Zoe, who is a jazz musician.
“Why should I play the grieving girl and lie?
Saying that I miss you an my
World has gone dark without your light?
I will sing no requiem tonight”
The emotional complexity of Zoe’s song (is it from the stage show?) seems to hold a truth that is missing from other characters’ reactions.
This could only be an American book. So much about owning your feelings and being authentic and carrying on through isolation and the need to validate the lives of those around you. Important, probably, since the readership is pretty much the real-life version of the people that Evans’ fictional ‘The Connor Project’ reaches. Kudos for the original concept (not many of those around these days), but the telling of it was underwhelming for me, with the characters coming across as banal and one-dimensional, and little to recommend the writing style – not even the inclusion of letters, SMS conversations and song lyrics.
Now that I’ve read it – I know why they’re asking for it. Teens will relate closely to Evan and Connor’s generalised anxiety about be absent from the world they inhabit, but If you want to read about grief and the impact of suicide – go read Beautiful Mess, which makes lots of the same points but with great characterisation and some lovely writing. If you’re feeling lonely, though, and invisible, and worry that today might be your last, or you know someone who you think may be feeling that way, then Dear Evan Hansen is for you.  ( )
  IsabellaLucia | Oct 24, 2020 |
I've listened to the soundtrack for the musical a few times and like a couple of songs, but haven't heard it enough to piece together the story. It's a tough book to read in the sense that it deals with a lot of heavy topics - from suicide to severe anxiety to lying and having life consequences for actions, to basic high school drama.
  GretchenLynn | Sep 10, 2020 |
I enjoyed this book because it shows what it is like for teens who may have anxiety or may feel like they don’t belong. It was a sad premise, but overall there were some great moments. Evan Hansen was put in a tough spot and I couldn’t have done what he did, but it made me feel like I was there deciding with him on his choices. ( )
  snickel63 | Aug 21, 2020 |
oof

if i could review this lower i..probably would honestly. full disclosure: i do know and love the musical, but i approached this book as a standalone novel because i think that adaptations should work on their own, you know?

but wow... i could not get through this. i got to page i think 62 and just stopped. for a variety of reasons, but mostly i just could not get through evan's inner monologues. i understand that he tends to go on tangents and ramble, but it was just hard to wade through. and evan is like???? really mean???? in his head?? it was a lot

i do know how things pan out and change throughout the story, because someone i was with skimmed the rest of the book while i was in the room and gave some updates, and i'm just a bit confused by some of the character choices and development, as well as the structure, but since i didn't read through those parts, i can't comment more on them.

i might try to finish this at some point but man. it's rough. ( )
  bloomingtea | Jun 28, 2020 |
I didn't love this one like I had hoped I would. To be fair, I am not the target audience for this book. I have never seen the musical or heard any of its songs so I was pretty clueless going in. I can't tell you how this book compares to the musical but this story does stand on its own. Maybe a younger audience will enjoy this one more than I did but I spent a large part of the book wanted to pull these kids to the side and give them a mom talk. It was a pretty easy read and I am glad I gave it a try.

It all starts with a letter. Evan doesn't have really any friends and has a hard time getting through each day. As a part of therapy, he writes letters to himself to put things in a positive outlook. Connor picks up the letter and takes it from Evan. He dies with that letter in his pocket and suddenly everyone thinks that Connor and Evan were great friends and everything grows from there.

One of my biggest pet peeves is lying of any kind. Unfortunately, this book is packed with lies. Instead of letting Connor's parents know the truth behind the letter he lets them think that he was really friends with Connor. He then proceeds to expand on that lie and becomes a big part of Connor's family's life. He even starts dating Connor's sister whom he has had a crush on for a very long time. Almost everything that Evan does in this book is a lie or is tied to a lie and I have to tell you that I had some issues with it. I just felt like Connor's family had enough to deal with without being manipulated by Evan.

There were some things that I did like in this book. I liked that the story is told from two different points of view. I expected Evan's point of view but the second one was a bit of a surprise. The point of view that I didn't expect was really my favorite part of the book. I thought that those sections of the book were very well done.

I listened to this book and I thought that the narrators did a good job with it. The female narrator listed did a couple of song segments worked into the story and the males handled the two points of view. I thought that they both did a great job representing their character. Their voices were very pleasant to listen to for long periods of time. I think that I liked the story a bit more because I decided to listen to the audiobook.

I think that a lot of readers are going to like this book a lot more than I did. The book does touch on a lot of important issues but I couldn't get past all of the deceptions.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers via NetGalley and borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library via Overdrive. ( )
  Carolesrandomlife | May 1, 2020 |
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** INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER ** USA TODAY BESTSELLER WSJ BESTSELLER INDIE BOUND BESTSELLER From the show's creators comes the groundbreaking novel inspired by the hit Broadway show 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.

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