DEAR EDWARD by Ann Napolitano
DEAR EDWARD became one of my all-time favorite books before I’d even finished the novel. I bought it as an audiobook—loved the narrator—but halfway through, picked up the hardback for my to-be-reread pile. It’s a novel you’ll want to savor and revisit. (And mark-up if you’re a writer.)
The premise is deceptively simple: a twelve-year-old boy is the sole survivor of a plane crash that kills over 180 people, including his adored big brother and both his parents. He becomes an instant celebrity—almost public property. Social media and the news claim him as the boy who survived. A miracle.
Edward, however, feels disconnected from everything, and that’s the true gift of the novel. We watch as he builds new connections that teach him how to find meaning in life, despite the weight of his belief that the other passengers remain alive through him.
While we sense Edward’s incredible loss—and tissues are necessary—grief is not the focus of DEAR EDWARD. The real journey is through his physical and emotional healing. I literally held my breath as he adapted to life with his aunt and uncle, and I cheered as he quietly befriended the badass girl next door.
At the core is a page-turning mystery: Why did the plane fall from the sky? That answer is revealed through two timelines beautifully woven together. One allows an intimate window into Edward’s recovery and epiphanies; the other introduces the story of the people on the plane. Even though they meet as strangers, relationships are forged and their stories continue through Edward’s memories and his interactions with their surviving family members.
DEAR EDWARD is a powerhouse of a story about the resilience of the human spirit and the importance of human connection. It’s full of hope, kindness, and love.
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