Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel

Book review by
Amanda Nojadera, Common Sense Media
Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel Book Poster Image
Powerful novel deals with suicide, anxiety, and loneliness.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The authors' note at the end of book provides statistics about suicide from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and also lists resources including The Child Mind Institute, Crisis Text Line, and The Trevor Project

Positive Messages

Teens will learn the importance of honest communication, empathy, and kindness. Remember that you're not alone and it's OK to ask for help. Nothing replaces the power of a meaningful IRL relationship.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Evan is a flawed character who lets a white lie spiral out of control but eventually realizes that he has to reveal the truth. He does bring some comfort and solace to the Murphys, who believed they were learning more about their son from his "best friend." The Connor Project becomes a positive online community for others to reach out for help and share their stories.

Violence

The entire story revolves around Connor's suicide. Another character mentions that he attempted suicide. Evan has a broken arm after falling from a tree. There's a small fight in the cafeteria. Brief mention of self-harm.

Sex

Teens kiss. Characters make lots of sexual jokes such as "jerking off" too much, getting to second base below the bra, "sucking d--k" for meth, sending nude pictures, and more. One character talks of having a fluid sexuality.

Language

Characters repeatedly use variations of "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "Jesus Christ," "d--k," "MILF," "jerking off," and more.

Consumerism

People sell pins and shirts to commemorate Connor. Evan's speech about Connor and the Connor Project goes viral. Characters raise money for the Connor Murphy Memorial Orchard.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Evan takes perescription drugs Lexapro, Ativan, and Adderall. There are also mentions of weed, edibles, wine, and Scotch. One character makes a joke about "sucking d--k" for meth.

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.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written byChloe0419 November 10, 2018

Everyone should read this at one point

It has such a good message- everyone matters. It’s a perfect novel accompaniment to the musical. I was hooked on the first page.
Teen, 13 years old Written byCat.x November 8, 2018

A fabulous book.

I, being a huge fan of the musical, was NOT disappointed. Really worth the read.

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?

Book details

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