I’m not sure what made me pick up Dear Edward. I don’t like to read a lot of family dramas – not because I don’t like them, but because they can be kind of depressing. But Dear Edward seemed like something different. I hadn’t heard much about it, but what I did was great. So, even though I knew this book would probably break my heart, I picked it up.
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
One summer morning, twelve-year-old Edward Adler, his beloved older brother, his parents, and 183 other passengers board a flight in Newark headed for Los Angeles. Among them is a Wall Street wunderkind, a young woman coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy, an injured vet returning from Afghanistan, a septuagenarian business tycoon, and a free-spirited woman running away from her controlling husband. And then, tragically, the plane crashes. Edward is the sole survivor.
Edward’s story captures the attention of the nation, but he struggles to find a place for himself in a world without his family. He continues to feel that a piece of him has been left in the sky, forever tied to the plane and all of his fellow passengers. But then he makes an unexpected discovery–one that will lead him to the answers of some of life’s most profound questions: When you’ve lost everything, how do find yourself? How do you discover your purpose? What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live?
Dear Edward is at once a transcendent coming-of-age story, a multidimensional portrait of an unforgettable cast of characters, and a breathtaking illustration of all the ways a broken heart learns to love again.
Dear Edward is exactly what I was expecting. But better. It goes beyond the typical coming of age story. Edward is growing up and trying to figure out who he is in the face of profound tragedy. This story explores what it means to be defined by something that very few other human beings have experienced and still come out of it as yourself.
I truly loved this book. I really liked how it was told not just through Edward’s point of view after the plane crash, but also in vignettes of other passengers on the plane, including his parents and brother. Getting to know some of those who died in the crash made it feel more real, and more tragic. But what makes this book special is that, yes, it was sad. But I came out of it with a smile on my face instead of wanting to cry. It was difficult to read at times, but it was also hopeful. I think that feeling is what I enjoyed the most.
Ann Napolitano’s writing is really beautiful, and I appreciate the way she told this story. As much as I wanted to fly through this book to get my planned review up (it’s a bad book blogger habit), I couldn’t help but slow down and savor the words. I also couldn’t put it down, so it ended up being a fairly fast read.
If you enjoy family dramas that (probably) won’t destroy you, I would highly recommend Dear Edward. I think fans of Celeste Ng in particular will really like this book.
★★★★★ – I wasn’t expecting to, but I loved Dear Edward. I liked the writing and the story and the feeling this book gave me. I always love when a book makes me feel better about the world, and this one did.
Dear Edward will be in bookstores this January (release dates vary online from January 6th or 7th to the 14th, so I’m still not sure of the exact date, but it is coming very soon!). You can preorder a copy on Amazon or Book Depository now.
To get the audiobook for free, use this link to sign up for a free trial of Audible.
This book was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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