Thursday, October 18, 2018

Nicole Speaks: Dear Evan Hansen by: Val Emmich with Steven Levenson, Benji Pasek, & Justin Paul

Every now and then my sister drops by the blog to join me in my book rambling and share her thoughts.
If you want to know more about Nicole, click here.

Release Date: October 9, 2018
from Hachette Book Group
Goodreads | Amazon
Source: Received a copy of this book from the publisher and voluntarily provided a fair and honest review. 
"From the show's creators comes the groundbreaking novel inspired by the Broadway smash hit 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."

Nicole Speaks:

When I first found out that Dear Evan Hansen was becoming a book, I was thrilled. Dear Evan Hansen means more to me than any Broadway play probably should.  I still remember the first time I listened to the soundtrack. I was walking to school, when I first heard Words Fail and I began to cry.  I couldn’t control it.  I walked through New York City with my headphones in just crying.  When I saw Ben Platt perform as Evan my heart was shattered and put back together.  I cried to the point where I was shaking.  I left the theater with makeup staining my face and now, over a year later I have a tattoo inspired by the show.  So when I picked up this book I knew that I was going to have high expectations and there were parts that exceeded my expectations.  I fell in love with this story even more, but I have never been angrier reading a book than I was when it came to Evan’s speech.

Dear Evan Hansen is the story of a boy Evan with severe social anxiety and his “friendship” with a boy named Connor who committed suicide.  This book allowed us to step into Evan’s shoes as he struggled not only with his own anxiety and depression, but how he was sucked into the world of Connor Murphy after his suicide.  The author did an incredible job of capturing Evans anxiety throughout his every day life, and during some of his most stressful moments.  However, one of the most crucial parts of the entire musical was the speech Evan gives at Connor’s memorial.  This is the turning point of the play and book, and is one of the most emotional scenes.  Yet, for some reason that I just cannot understand, his entire speech is summarized into a few short sentences.  Now, I would have maybe understood this if they hadn’t used exact lyrics from almost every other song in the book before this point.  Why wouldn’t they do the same thing with the song You Will Be Found?  I had to close the book and walk away I was so upset.  I had felt that the most emotional scene was ripped from the story. This song means so much to me, and is so important to the story, I truly could not understand why the author wouldn’t want to include the lyrics.  I was unhappy when it came to the changes they made to Evan’s speech, but if you have not seen the play, these changes may not bother you the same way they bothered me.

While I was very upset by this part of the book, I still loved the book, all thanks to Connor Murphy.  There are new chapters from Connor’s point of view that were by far my favorite part of the book.  Reading these chapters let us gain an understanding of what was going on in Connor’s life before and up until the moment of his death.  These weren’t always happy moments, but it lets us get a glimpse of what it was like to be Connor and why he made the decision that he did.  This story revolves around him, but in a world that he no longer exists.  These quick glimpses into Connor’s life made the story more emotional and even more meaningful.  Connor teaches us that you can never judge a book by its cover and that there is so much more to a person than what meets the eye.     

When I finally finished the book, I loved the story of Dear Evan Hansen even more than I expected because of Connor.  Connor and Evan show you what its like to feel so completely alone.  Everyone needs to read their story because they remind you that even when you feel broken and alone You Will Be Found. 

1 comment:

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