I’ll hand it to you Val Emmich, this was quite the book.

First, big thank you to Net Galley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

This book follows the story of Evan Hansen who suffers from anxiety and goes from invisible by the masses to suddenly viral and under the microscope. He goes from the need to stay silent to the need to be heard, all in a few days.

Note: This book was originally a Broadway musical that has no been adapted into a novel. (Personally, I feel like this type of story would be better as a musical, tv show, or movie BUT that’s for farther down in the review)

Let’s get to the in-depth portion of this review.

β€œTo the ground I fall. I can never stay aloft too long. Not when there’s an ugly and heavy truth always dragging me back down.”
― Val Emmich, Dear Evan Hansen

I can already tell you that this book was not my standard cup of tea. Contemporary isn’t always my thing but the feed back, reviews, recommends, and friends that enjoyed the musical peaked my interest. I was intrigued to see what the hubbub was about and I sure did get a lot.

Starting with the good.
Val Emmich is an excellent writer, this book is stunning. I thought the language and plot movement was spot on and fast paced. There was never a point where I was bored but there were points where I was wondering what the point of the story was exactly. However, that’s not on the writer as this is an adaptation of an existing work.

Now for the not so good.
I’m not sure there’s a single character I actually liked in this book. It’s hard for me to say that about any book, but every character in here upset me. Evan’s character seems to have no growth, Zoe has a ‘pixie girl’ feel, Conner is so side swept I couldn’t get too attached (although he’s probably my favorite), and the parents are… I have no words. Jared, while a jerk, seems to be the most realistic and have growth.

I realize the book is more of a snapshot of a part in life but it felt like it ended how it began. The characters didn’t move or change. The situation fell flat for me. (And I do realize this is an unpopular opinion haha) That being said, this would make an excellent TV show or Musical based on the premise. I could even picture it as I was reading.

Also, with my differing opinion after reading I can see this being an EXCELLENT BOOK CLUB BOOK! So many thoughts and feelings afterward to discuss and talk with others on. I also love the fact that it brings to light how it feels to deal with anxiety. We need more books that deal with mental health and how our societal standards affect that health.

Overall, I would recommend this to anyone that enjoys contemporary fiction and books on mental health. It was an interesting read however, I think it came down that it just wasn’t for me. I’m very character driven and the characters on this didn’t grip me.

  • Overall Rating: 3.25 Stars
  • Plot: 4Β  Stars
  • Character Development: 2 Stars
  • Dialogue: 3 Stars
  • Writing: 4 Stars

Happy Reading!!
~Ash


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