January 15, 2019

Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
I haven't had the opportunity to see this musical, but have heard great things about it. Because of that, I had to pick up the novelization, but unfortunately this Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich, with Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul, fell flat for me. There need to be definite trigger warnings on this book for mental illness, depression and anxiety, and suicide.

Evan Hansen has terrible anxiety. He doesn't like social situations and prefers spending time in nature. When the school year starts, he is encouraged to put himself out there. He is also supposed to write himself notes per his therapist to maintain a positive attitude. But Evan's life turns upside down when one of these notes is found after a classmate's death. Suddenly Evan is thrust into the spotlight more than he ever wanted, but maybe it's nice to be noticed for once.

While I understand the importance of this story, I just thought it could have been done so much better. As a sufferer of anxiety myself, I had really high hopes, but it didn't resonate with me at all. I was bored the majority of the story and just couldn't get invested. There were times I found myself skimming just to get through the book faster. I thought the characters were flat, and parts seemed unrealistic. I was actually disgusted by Evan and his actions at times, anxiety or not. I also didn't like that they portrayed Evan as nothing more than his anxiety. People are more than their mental illnesses.

Maybe the musical just didn't convert well to a novelization? I have seen people say that this reads like bad fan fiction of the musical, so maybe I will still give it a shot if I ever have the opportunity to see it.

Overall Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars

10 comments:

Christina Loeffler said...

Oh no! Sorry this was such a flop for you but it's a great, honest review!

jenn G said...

Oh My a 1? Authors do have issues portraying anxiety correctly unless they themselves have it.

Katelynne Lawson said...

Wow, I’m sorry this was such a flop for you. I want to check out the musical for sure.

Joselyn Raquel Moreno Burke said...

sometimes it happens, sorry to hear it wasn't what you would have expected, and yes I do suffer from anxiety a lot and I would be devastated if I read a book so bad about it

DJ Sakata said...

Shucks - this happens to us all now and then. Hope your next read more than makes up for it

betteroffreading said...

Uh, sorry you didn't like it, the musical seems great

Bewitched Reader Book Blog said...

Dang. I can't stand when a book doesn't meet my expectations. Hopefully, your next read is better.

Nikki Saturday Nite Reader said...

I'm going to stay clear of this one. Thanks for the heads up!

Whispering Stories Blog said...

Awe pity the book fell flat for you, I can understand why. I haven't seen the production of it either. Great review.

Melissa's fandom world said...

Sorry to read you didn't really like it. Thanks for sharing your honest review.