If like me, you’ve turned to reading more this year, you’ll have probably read a fair few by now this year. One book that I decided to give a read in the early stages of the Coronavirus lockdown, was Dear Evan Hansen.
Dear Evan Hansen is, of course, one of the top musicals of the 21st Century. Having officially opened on Broadway just over 4 years ago, on 4th December 2016, this new musical has really impressed musical fans old and new.
Dear Evan Hansen opened on Broadway on the 4th December 2016. It went on to open on the West End in November 2019
However, some fail to realise is that there is a Dear Evan Hansen book also. The musical is based on this book, written by Steven Levenson. For those that have already seen the musical, or who have listened to the soundtrack a couple of times or so, identifying songs should be pretty easy, with some lyrics even included in the book.
The book follows the story of a teenager named Evan Hansen, who suffers with social anxiety. When Evan writes a letter to himself, something his therapist encourages him to do, it ends up getting in the wrong hands, and people believe it is a suicide note written by Connor Murphy.
Evan ends up telling lies, which grow and grow. Determined to do good, he creates a project he calls ‘The Connor Project’, which becomes incredibly successful, going viral all over the world. Will Evan ever come clean? What kind of consequences would come from that?
I found this book really gripping, not just because it was a page-turner in its content, but also because I can genuinely see this working as a musical, prior to watching the West End musical. It just flowed like a musical or play would, from dramatic scene to scene. On top of this, the novel is straight to the point about often unspoken about topics relevant to high school and teenage life, particularly.
It just flowed like a musical or play would
In the book, we see chapters from other characters point of views, something that can often become confusing for the reader. However, with this book I found the format very easy to read, ensuring I don’t have to keep re-reading to make sense of who’s talking and so on.
I would suggest that readers be of an age where they can maturely understand and cope with reading about themes like suicide, which is heavy spoken about in the book. The piece is classed by most as a teen fiction piece, and I’d agree, 13/14 year olds+, would be okay reading this novel.
In review, I would describe this book as a modern classic, definitely worthy of a place on the bookshelf, and of a read in the New Year. Having read the book, we’re both incredibly excited to be seeing the musical in the New Year, dependent on COVID rules.