ARC Review: Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich

A couple of weeks ago, I got a super fun email asking whether or not, I wanted to read Evan Hansen’s story. An email written by Evan himself. That definitely grabbed my attention right away as it was different to the usual emails we’re being sent from publishers – way to make yourself stand out, Evan! And since I had heard so much buzz for the musical this book is a novelization for, obviously, I wanted to check the story out myself too.

review image_ plot

Dear Evan Hansen follows the story of teenager Evan Hansen whose first day of school after the summer break doesn’t go quite as he imagined it. After an unpleasant interaction with Connor Murphy at lunch, Evan is in the computer lab working on a letter his therapist asked him to write daily addressed to himself and talking about why the upcoming day is going to be a great one. Unfortunately, the letter doesn’t end up with Evan and instead finds its way into Connor’s hands who takes the letter with him.

For days, Evan is worried that Connor will spread the letter around school until Evan finds himself being called to the principal’s office. There, Connor’s parents want to speak to Evan as they found Evan’s letter on Connor after his suicide.

This situation quickly turns into something Evan didn’t expect when he starts spinning lie after lie to make the Murphy family feel better. Before Evan knows it, he is spending more and more time with the Murphys and building a relationship with them. But as with everything that is built on lies – the truth is eventually going to be revealed.

review image_ pacing

For the most part, I really enjoyed the pacing of Dear Evan Hansen. The only major complaint I have is the way the ending was handled.

It felt like we spend about 90% of the book building up to the big reveal and for things to come crumbling down which happened for the last 10% of the book. That’s something I personally don’t enjoy at all. Something similar happened in A Gathering Of Shadows which affected my overall feelings about the book quite a bit. I prefer for books to be evenly spread out as far as pacing goes.

I would actually kind of compare this to the way Sierra Burgess Is A Loser was written. We know the big reveal is going to be happening at some point and so will the resolution but it all happens in the last 5-10 minutes of an almost two-hour long movie. I want more than that. I feel like the viewer and/or reader deserves more than that.

review image_ characters

Dear Evan Hansen is written in the first person, so we only really get to know Evan quite well and everyone else is only seen through Evan’s lense and doesn’t get nearly as much development, in my opinion.

I finished this book just this past weekend but I honestly couldn’t tell you much about the characters and what they’re about already. None of them really stuck out to me in any kind of way and I don’t really think any of them will really stick with me.

We all want to read stories about characters who stick with us days, weeks and/or months after we’ve finished the book but these just aren’t going to be those characters for me, I’m afraid. But since reading is such a personal experience, I hope you guys end up enjoying these characters and their stories so much more than I did!

review image_ enjoyment

This is such a weird thing to say for me. I read the majority of this book during the DEARathon that I joined last minute and that Caro was participating in too, so we ended up talking about our reading progress and what we were thinking about the books we were reading.

And whenever I talked about Dear Evan Hansen I would say that I was really enjoying the book. And I did, don’t get me wrong. In the moment, as I was reading it, I did enjoy it. But now that I’ve finished it and had a bit of time to think about it, my overall enjoyment of the book wasn’t as great as it in the moment.

So, do you rate the book based solely on how you felt as you were reading it or do you take into consideration the way you feel after you’ve finished it and had some time to think about it more?
review image_ rating

2 2 2

review image_ release date

For those of you guys who have been impatiently waiting to relive this story or to experience it for the first time, Dear Evan Hansen releases in the US and the UK on 9th October 2018 – so just a few more weeks, guys!

Grab Your Coffee And Let's Talk!

Did any of you guys get a chance to read this book early too? If so, how do you feel about it? And was/is your opinion swayed by the fact that you love(d) the musical before reading this book? Let me know in the comments down below, as I’m super curious to hear about it!

For those of you who haven’t read this book yet – are you planning on reading it when comes out? But also, have you listened to the cast recording or seen the musical itself and is your opinion of the book going to be influenced by that? Please share your thoughts!

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17 thoughts on “ARC Review: Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich

  1. Great review! Being a huge fan of the musical, I can’t wait for this to release! I can definitely relate with feeling disappointed with endings that just come crashing down unexpectedly. I’m glad you were still able to enjoy this one in the moment though! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely review! I… just have one question, I feel like your sentence got abruptly cut off at the end of your first paragraph…? (“This was a bit more difficult than I would’ve thought and”) That made me wonder a little bit if that was intentional? haha.
    I’m sorry to hear you were a bit disappointed by the pacing, but I get where you come from, I also find it very frustrating when that happens :/ I’m glad you still enjoyed it overall 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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