By Ann Napolitano
Dial Press Trade Paperback, 9781984854803, Feb 2021, 384pp.
The Short of It:
Young Edward is the sole survivor of a plane crash. His story is heartbreaking but hopeful too.
The Rest of It:
I knew a little about Dear Edward before starting it, but I wasn’t sure how Edward’s story would be told without it being too sad or depressing. I learned immediately that Edward was the sole survivor of a crash that killed 191 people including his mother, father, and brother, Jordan. The story is told in alternating chapters that take you from Edward’s current situation, to flashbacks of him on the plane. As the story progresses, those chapters taking place on the plane eventually lead up to the cause of the crash and the reactions of the passengers as it was happening.
This was an interesting way to tell this story. It allowed me to feel the sense of panic that everyone on that plane felt, but it was broken up into palatable pieces that you could digest without too much trouble. The sadness that Edward experiences is gently shared through his inability to sleep in his Aunt and Uncle’s house, his quiet reflection when asked to help one of the school administrator’s with a plant project, his close friendship with the young neighbor next door. His sadness can be felt in all the day-to-day interactions, especially the memories of his brother, Jordan.
So where does the hope come from? Without giving too much away, Edward is put into a position to help others and the way he goes about it, is touching. This was a nice way to move forward and to plan for the future which would be so uncertain to a young boy of 12.
I have seen some mixed reviews for this book. Many saying that they liked it but didn’t love it. I will say this, it holds you at arm’s length. Never going too deep into one part of the story and being very careful not to take you down too dark a path. I wouldn’t say the author chose to play it safe, it’s just how she chose to tell the story. Perhaps some of it was a little too convenient if hard to believe but this is a book where the “in-between” held my attention.
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