Review: Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich

Title: Dear Evan Hansen

Author: Val Emmich

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Little Brown for Young Readers

The Blurb

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.

The Review

Some books are difficult to read. Not because the words are too hard – I’m a prolific reader and a graduate of English Literature, don’t you know. They are difficult because – as with all books – you have no control over the characters and as much as you would like to subtly whisper in their ears the right choices and the right paths to take, you just can’t.

This was true of Dear Evan Hansen. Oh Evan, what are we going to do with you? Evan finds himself in a completely horrible situation. As the saying goes, he is stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the day that Evan’s classmate Connor Murphy dies he and Evan have had an altercation which leads Connor’s parents to believe that Connor and Evan were friends. More than that, they believe that Connor’s suicide note was left to Evan. Much to Evan’s dismay, the note is actually a letter he wrote to himself on the advice of his therapist. How can he explain himself without ruining the last remnants of hope from Connor’s family and without making himself look crazy in the meantime?

Dear Evan Hansen is cringeworthy in all the right places and you feel yourself spiral deeper into the abyss alongside Evan. You feel the oppressive air become closer and tighter the more and more lies that Evan has to tell. It is a book that you cannot read passively. And the frustrating thing is that you know the story can only end one way but like Evan you keep looking for escape routes. It is that sort of novel.

Dear Evan Hansen has to have been one of the most immersive YA novels that I have read in a long time…and I bloody loved it.

Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich is available now.

For more information regarding Val Emmich (@ValEmmich) please visit www.valemmich.com.

For more information regarding Little Brown for Young Readers (@LittleBrownYR) please visit www.LBYR.com.

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