Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich with Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul

I was recently encouraged to listen to the music from Dear Evan Hansen the Musical and then gifted the book through my bookstagram account. I was really excited about it as I’d heard so many good things about the show and the music was really beautiful. Maybe the hype was too much as the book wasn’t as good as I hoped.

Dear Evan Hansen tells the story of Evan who is the dictionary definition of a loner struggling through high school. He has no friends and goes through his day at school practically invisible, he then comes home to a Mom who is doing her best to provide but working lots of shifts and going to school in her spare time. Evan’s therapist challenges him to write letters to himself to keep a record of his feelings and encourage him to focus on the positives. When Connor Murphy picks up a letter he has written from a printer at school Evan is scared it will be shared around the school and cause him major embarrassment.

However, he could never have predicted that Connor would complete suicide, with the letter on him. His parents then misinterpret Evan’s letter he has written to himself as a letter to Evan from Connor. What follows is a snowball of lies which finds Evan becoming popular and no longer invisible. But he is lying and everybody knows that the truth always comes out.

The first 50% of this book was really slow. We went back and forth constantly with Evan’s guilt of lying and happiness at giving people what they want. I really trudged through it. However, I did find the second half much more interesting. Overall, it wasn’t as good as I expected. Hopefully it is a better musical as I do like the music and would still quite like to go and see it; you know when the world returns to some place of normality.

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