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The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel, by Val Emmich, Steven Levensen, Ben Pasek, Justin Paul, expands upon the six-time Tony Award-winning musical of the same name. Told from the perspectives of Evan Hansen and Connor Murphy after his death, this powerful coming-of-age story deals with heavy topics including suicide, grief, anxiety, depression, and loneliness. The authors have included links to the Child Mind Institute, Crisis Text Line, and The Trevor Project for anyone in need of help. Strong language includes variations of "s--t," "f--k," "bitch," "d--k," and more. One character reveals that his sexuality is fluid. Characters make sexual references and jokes such as "jerking off" too much, getting to second base below the bra, "sucking d--k" for meth, sending nude pictures, and more. Although the subject matter might be difficult for sensitive readers to handle, there are positive messages for teens about honest communication, empathy, kindness, and finding meaningful IRL relationships.
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What's the story?
In DEAR EVAN HANSEN: THE NOVEL, high school senior Evan Hansen suffers from anxiety and knows what it's like to feel invisible and alone. But when a letter he wrote for his therapy session unexpectedly pulls him into the Murphy family's grief over the loss of their son, Connor, Evan finally gets the chance to know what it's like to belong. All he has to do is pretend that he and Connor were best friends. And while he knows that lying is wrong, can it be that bad if his lies go viral and start to help people beyond his community? As Evan spends more time with the Murphy family, who desperately want to know more about Connor from his "best friend," the more he realizes how painful it will be once the truth is revealed.
Is it any good?
This poignant coming-of-age tale thoughtfully portrays heavy topics including suicide, grief, and mental health issues while powerfully reminding teens that they are never alone. Told mostly from Evan's point of view plus a few key passages from Connor's perspective after his death, this heartbreaking and timely stage-to-page novelization shows how easily social media lets lies spiral out of control and facilitates inauthentic connections.
Readers might find themselves frustrated by the lengths to which Evan will go to find acceptance and a sense of belonging, but Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel will help teens understand the importance of honest communication, empathy, kindness, and finding meaningful IRL relationships.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the heavy themes of suicide, anxiety, depression, and loneliness in Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel. How do these issues affect the characters' mental health? Is it important for kids to read Evan and Connor's story? Why or why not?
How do you cope with issues? Who can you turn to? What help is out there?
Who's a role model in the story? What character strengths does that person display?
- Authors: Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, High School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Poppy
- Publication date: October 9, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 18
- Number of pages: 368
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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