Dear Edward: Book summary and reviews of Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

Dear Edward

by Ann Napolitano

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano X
Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
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About this book

Book Summary

A twelve-year-old boy struggles with the worst kind of fame - as the sole survivor of a notorious plane crash - in a heart-wrenching and life-affirming novel for readers of Small Great Things, Little Fires Everywhere, and The Immortalists.

What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live? 

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 are a Wall Street wunderkind, a young woman coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy, an injured vet returning from Afghanistan, a business tycoon, and a free-spirited woman running away from her controlling husband. Halfway across the country, 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? 

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"With its expert pacing and picture-perfect final page, Dear Edward is a wondrous read. It is a skillful and satisfying examination of not only what it means to survive, but of what it means to truly live." - Booklist (starred review)

"Edward's intolerable losses and his eventual brave recovery is at first melancholy, but by the end, readers will feel a comforting sense of solace. Napolitano's depiction of the nuances of post-trauma experiences is fearless, compassionate, and insightful." - Publishers Weekly

"As one might expect, there is a ray of light for Edward at the end of the tunnel, and for hardier readers this will make Napolitano's novel a story of hope. Well-written and insightful but so heartbreaking that it raises the question of what a reader is looking for in fiction." - Kirkus Reviews

"Edward's father used mathematics to 'tie together pieces of the universe'; Ann Napolitano uses words to do the same in Dear Edward—a dazzling, tender novel about sorrow and despair, resilience and great love." - Shelf Awareness

"Penetrating...What makes this narrative so effective is its alternating between the ordinary events unfolding on the flight and the aftermath of the crash...[A] vivid story of one boy's coming of age redirected by tragedy." - Library Journal

"Ann Napolitano's new novel is the best book about a young person I've read since Emma Donoghue's Room, and if there's any justice in the world, it's going to be a phenomenon: outstanding storytelling, great writing, absolutely The Real Deal." - John Boyne, bestselling author of The Heart's Invisible Furies

"From its breathtaking premise—a boy is the sole survivor of an airplane crash—to its absolutely rhapsodic finish, Dear Edward is about the persistence of hope, the depth of love, and the unexpected, radiant moments that make up our lives. If I loved this stunning novel any more, I'd have to marry it." - Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and Cruel Beautiful World

"From the first page of this heartwarming and heart-wrenching novel, I was dazzled. Napolitano weaves a story that brims with humanity—with joy and sorrow, love and friendship, survival and triumph, and a cast of unforgettable characters. Dear Edward is a masterpiece that should be at the top of everyone's reading list." - J. Courtney Sullivan, bestselling author of Saints for All Occasions

This information about Dear Edward was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Techeditor

The story of kindness
DEAR EDWARD refers to a boy who used to go by “Eddie.” He was Eddie before he was the lone survivor out of 191 passengers on a jet that crashed in Colorado. While he is in the hospital and after he comes to live with his aunt and uncle, he decides to go by ”Edward," instead. The accident is the dividing line: one life before, another after.

Ann Napolitano does a fabulous job describing how Edward deals with his new life. But I don’t think of this as a single story. Rather, this is many stories, all Edward’s.

Most of those stories involve Shay, the girl who lives next door to Edward‘s new home. Shay keeps him sane right from his first night there. And she helps him read and respond to all the letters that the other passengers‘ families send to him (thus the "dear” before “Edward" in the title).

In spite of its sad beginning, DEAR EDWARD turns out to be a story of kindness.

lani

A surprising tender read
When I read the premise of the book, I couldn't imagine appreciating it. Why did I want to read about a plane crash of 191 people where only a 12 year old boy survived? It felt depressing just twirling these words around my tongue. However, I was in for one sweet surprise. The novel introduces us to the complicated lives of the other passengers, told in alternating chapters,which are then counterbalanced with the softheartedness of other parts. The media blitz does not leave the young boy alone; he will never be the "normal" kid again. But we watch as Eddie becomes Edward and his physical and psychological healing is delicately displayed. His empathy to others as he tries to find his place in the world is a lovely thing to behold, gentle and sweet. And his sidekick Shay who he meets when he comes to live with his aunt and uncle is a refreshing counterpunch, a breath of fresh air, as a cheeky adolescent. All in all, a more compassionate read then I had expected.

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Author Information

Ann Napolitano Author Biography

Photo: Nicola Dove

Ann Napolitano's new novel, Dear Edward, will be published by Dial Press in January 2020. She is the author of the novels A Good Hard Look and Within Arm's Reach. She is also the Associate Editor of One Story literary magazine. She received an MFA from New York University; she has taught fiction writing for Brooklyn College's MFA program, New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies and for Gotham Writers' Workshop.

Dear Edward will be published by Dial Press in the United States, and by Viking Penguin in the United Kingdom. The novel currently has fourteen international publishers.

A Good Hard Look was published in the United States by Penguin Press. The novel appeared on the Southern Independent bestseller list, on one of NPR's Best of 2011 lists, and was ...

... Full Biography
Author Interview
Link to Ann Napolitano's Website

Name Pronunciation
Ann Napolitano: na-poll-ih-TAH-no (first syllable like 'ap' in apple)

Other books by Ann Napolitano at BookBrowse
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