I am really excited about this review, y’all! For anyone who has followed me for any length of time, you know that I absolutely love Broadway shows, especially musicals. So putting musicals and books together – it makes me very, very happy.
About the Book
Title: Dear Evan Hansen
Author: Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
Genre: YA Contemporary
Dates Read: February 8 – 9, 2021
Edition Read: Hardcover
Blurb: 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.
My heart . . .
I have seen the musical of Dear Evan Hansen twice now, once on Broadway and once on the national tour. It is a deeply emotional and impactful story and the music is incredible. If you ever have a chance to see this on stage, do it. But this is not a review of the musical. To be honest, when I saw that they had made a novelization, I was a bit worried. Encouraged that the original creators of the show were involved, yes, but worried all the same. Novels are such a different medium than stage shows are. I hoped that they could do it justice.
I shouldn’t have worried at all. The book takes the brilliance of the stage show and expands on it. While we get deeper into Evan’s head than we do in the show (the book is told in first person from his point of view), we also get a deeper delve into Connor’s character. There are lots of other insights we get to see as well while still keeping everything that made the story of the musical so wonderful.
Except the songs, of course. I’m not sure exactly how that would have worked though.
There have been some criticisms of the play, particularly that maybe Evan is kind of a bad person because he keeps perpetuating the lie that he told in order to get what he wants. I could see how it could look that way, but I disagree. Evan is not a bad person. He doesn’t mean for everything to happen the way it does. He just got way in over his head and didn’t know how to get out before everything sort of snowballed. And anyone who has dealt with anxiety or depression will recognize how Evan feels about the whole situation. I think showing all of this in greater detail is one of the book’s best strengths.
GoodReads rating: 5 stars
Musical rating: also 5 stars
Leaving you with a video from their Tony Awards performance. I love the staging of this, showing how you can feel surrounded by everything because of social media while still feeling completely alone. Also Ben Platt is magical.
Categories: Books I've Read