Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel

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

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 34 reviews

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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.


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.


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.


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


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 prescription 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, and 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

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRCL47 February 13, 2019

Should be compulsory for teens and parents of teens

Amazing. Emotions, relationships, finding your way in a social media context. A must read for young people and parents. Even better when used in conjunction wi... Continue reading
Adult Written byMartina4 April 14, 2020

Dear vean hansen

A great book, if your kid has the maturity for reading it
Teen, 17 years old Written byblueexskyy May 25, 2020


I reas the book and even saw the broadway version! My complaints though. Swearing, Sex, and Drugs are a little overhand. This is a powerful and beautiful book!... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old October 24, 2019

A thought provoking and worthwhile read.

This book… literally left me speechless. So many thought-provoking themes and ideas are fabricated into this book, among those being self-worth, being found, fi... Continue reading

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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love coming-of-age stories and tales of mental illness

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