Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel
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 first day does not go as planned. Lunch is always anxiety-provoking and Evan decides to ask Jared, a family friend, if he can sit with him. In the process, Jared makes a rude comment to Connor Murphy, the brother of the girl Evan has a crush on, and Evan laughs awkwardly, earning him a shove from Connor. When he is printing his letter to himself in the computer lab, Connor is again there, but this time, he signs Evan's cast, because they both don't have friends. However, then he sees Evan's letter and assumes it is a prank on him (since it talks about his sister) and so he takes it.
Evan is waiting for the ball to drop- will the letter appear online? Will it ruin his life? When a few days later, he is called to the principal's office, he learns that Connor did nothing but pocket the letter. However, he had the letter in his pocket when he killed himself, and his family and the police believe that it was his suicide note. Evan is unable to clear the air and tell the truth due to his anxiety and a grieving family grasping for answers about the son they felt they barely knew. So begins this journey into Evan's new life where people notice him for being Connor's secret best friend and Connor's family begins to accept him as part of theirs- the family he doesn't have.
Told mostly from Evan's point-of-view but with some valuable sections from Connor after his death, this book is full of hope and anxiety. While we all know the truth will always get out, we don't know how or what the repercussions will be. This was a fast-paced book which I read within a day. The characters, particularly Evan, really drew me into this story- he's so genuine, real, and sweet (despite the situations in which he finds himself). I think there are some really important messages about mental health in this book, and I really think the overall flow and tone was well done. This is a story about grief, honesty, and healing that I found really engaging and touching.
Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.