Going Deeper than the Script ...


Evan Hansen (17) is starting his senior year in high school. He has lots of anxiety about it and his therapist instructs him to writes letters to himself to help deal with it. Then Connor Murphy, the brother of Evan's crush Zoe discovers one of his Dear Evan letters. Thinking mostly of his own embarrassment, Evan is shocked when two days later, Connor has killed himself. When Connor's family finds the letter, they think the boys were best friends and that this is a suicide note Connor wrote to Evan. When Evan decides not to tell them the truth, his life gets more complicated and the lies and anxiety get deeper and deeper. 

BTSYA / Teen Reader (16):
I am a fan of the play, though I have never seen the show. So I was excited to read this and learn more about the events in the musical. Both the book and musical focus on anxiety, depression, family and friend connections, and other important topics as Evan’s lie gets bigger. Readers also get more details and backstory on Connor, which we never got in the musical. I was very emotional reading this because of how much I could see myself in these characters. I recommend this book for teenagers and older due to language, drug usage, and mental health issues, including suicide.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Powerful and emotional, readers will connect with Evan, his anxiety, and his choices. Note: This is a book for audiences in high school or older. The upper-elementary reading level makes it accessible to audiences who struggle with reading skills. 

Content Awareness Factors:

Although fiction, the book deals very realistically with themes of drug use, anxiety, depression, and suicide. Strong language is also intended for an older, more mature audience.

Type of Book:
This is a novel based on the Broadway play of the same name.
Educational Themes:

In addition to broader themes like lying and grief, Dear Evan Hansen raises - and opens the door to discuss - issues that today's teens face: anxiety and depression; peer pressure; loneliness, isolation, and a need for acceptance. To get the conversation started, you might use the character map and lesson plans at Pixton.com.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
13 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
14 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 16
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. This is a powerful book and one teens will come back to.

Title Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel
Author Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
Publisher Poppy, Imprint Little, Brown Books for Young Readers © 2018
ISBN 9780316420235
Material Hard Cover
Cost $18.99
Genres Performing Arts, Self Worth, Death and Loss, Health - Illness, Life Lessons
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