Dear Evan Hansen
Authors: Val Emmich with Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Published by: Penguin Books
My Rating ★★★1/2
Dear Evan Hansen,
Today’s going to be an amazing day and here’s why…
High school senior Evan Hansen has always struggled to belong.
But when the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy took his own life, he did it so in possession of a letter Evan had written to himself.
Now everyone thinks they were best friends.
As Evan feeds the lie, and helps Connor’s family deal with their grief, it’s clear that he isn’t invisible anymore. Every day is suddenly amazing.
Evan convinces himself he’s doing the right thing. Until everything starts to go wrong…
Adapted by the show’s creators, this groundbreaking novel was inspired by the hit Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen. I’ve not seen the musical myself yet, but I’m hoping to soon - now that it has opened in the West End at last!
I would describe this novel as a very authentic first-person narration about family dynamics, the importance of kindness, and the horrors of not fitting in at high school.
When a letter that was never meant to be seen draws high school senior Evan Hansen into the Murphy family’s grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. Suddenly, Evan isn’t invisible anymore. And Connor’s wealthy parents 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 family, he knows that what he’s doing may not 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.
He’s confident. He’s a viral phenomenon. Every day is amazing. But when everything is in danger of unravelling, he comes face to face with his greatest obstacle: himself.
A simple lie leads to complicated truths in this warm coming-of-age story. The plot explores themes of grief, authenticity and the struggle to belong in an age of instant connectivity and deep isolation.
Dear Evan Hansen is an unpredictable and endearing take on some classic themes. I started out absolutely loving it, but it was very lacking in the end. I felt a little disappointed with the ending, but the characters are great and overall I still found this to be a mostly interesting and entertaining read.
I'm really looking forward to watching Stephen Chbosky's take on the story in the upcoming musical film adaptation! Check out my recent interview with the writer/director to find out more about the new film.