Dear Evan Hansen,
This book’s going to be an amazing book 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.
There are a few things to not before I get into the review of this book. First, this book is an adaptation of a musical, and so the plot and character development is what should be expected of such a form and not what is typical of a novel. Secondly I am a fan of the soundtrack of the musical, so I am already biased towards liking this book.
Funnily enough, I like this book. I love the soundtrack and feel that this fleshes out the gaps that the songs alone don’t cover very well. I also found that it does a good job of humanising the characters and giving them personalities and flaws that the songs don’t.
Plot wise, I appreciated the fact that the characters had problems simultaneously that were not just related to the main problem. Sometimes I find that characters in plays can have sequential issues, so only one person has problems at a time. However this is not the case in Dear Evan Hansen, which is what I feel gives it more realism and helps the story world feel more genuine.
I also like the fact that the characters in this story had real everyday problems like mental health issues and dysfunctional families rather than the more one of things. It made me feel like this story could happen to anyone, which is exactly the point. The characters in this book aren’t special or supposed to be. This story is about the fact that we don’t know what someone is going though and how we can be blinded by our own pain to notice somebody else’s. I think that if this book had had a chose one protagonist, the message would have been lost.