cover image Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel

Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel

Val Emmich et al. Poppy, $18.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-316-42023-5.

Plenty of books have been adapted into theater, but this novel inverts the formula, drawing on a Tony Award–winning musical for its empathetic story. Evan Hansen is a lonely, anxiety-ridden teenager whose therapist suggests he write an affirmative note to himself every day. When one of Evan’s letters falls into the hands of a classmate who later commits suicide, the boy’s parents mistakenly believe that Evan was his best friend. Evan struggles with correcting the misperception, which succors the dead boy’s parents and brings Evan popularity when a speech he gives, about how every life matters, goes viral. Alongside the show’s creators, actor and writer Emmich (The Reminders) is well suited to the task of taking Evan’s tortured conscience from stage to page, offering a particularly authentic first-person narration about family dynamics, the importance of kindness, and the horrors of not fitting in at high school. The timely plotline, about how one innocent lie can spin out of control with the help of the internet, makes this a must-read for teens and those who care about them. Ages 14–up. [em]Agents: WME, CAA. (Oct.) [/em]