Reviews for Dear Edward

by Ann Napolitano

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Twelve-year-old Eddie Adler is flying with his family from New York City to Los Angeles, a temporary relocation for his mother's television writing job. As he and his brother fight over who gets the window seat, their parents worry how the boys will cope with the move. The 216 passengers aboard their plane include a soldier returning from Afghanistan, an unexpectedly pregnant woman hoping for an engagement ring from her new boyfriend, and a dying tycoon. When the plane crashes in Colorado, Eddie is the sole survivor. Napolitano's (A Good Hard Look, 2011) latest follows Eddie in his struggle to build a new life without his family. Now living with his aunt and uncle, Eddie (now calling himself Edward) develops a relationship with Shay, his next door neighbor. Their relationship becomes the deep and stabilizing force in Edward's new life, and together they discover a cache of letters hidden in his uncle's garage that ultimately gives Edward's life new meaning. 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.--Carol Gladstein Copyright 2019 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
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Napolitano (A Good Hard Look) builds a gentle but persistent tension as she navigates the minds of passengers on a plane that is about to crash, and the thoughts of the boy who is the only survivor. Wonderfully detailed characters include Edward Adler, 12 years old at the time of the crash, who lives through the catastrophe, and Shay, who’s the same age and lives next to the aunt and uncle who take over for Edward’s dead parents. The story moves back and forth before and after the crash, when Edward struggles to physically and emotionally recover. Stories of his fellow passengers are woven throughout: Florida is a Filipina who remembers her past lives; Benjamin is a soldier who has just discovered he’s gay; and Veronica is an alluring flight attendant who tallies admiring stares. During Edward’s recovery between 2013 and 2019, he remembers some of these people, but in 2016, after finding hundreds of letters addressed to him from the families of the victims, Edward begins to discover his purpose. The potent prose brings readers close to the complex emotional and psychological fallout after tragedy. 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. Agent: Julie Barer, the Book Group. (Jan.)


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A 12-year-old boy is the sole survivor of a plane crasha study in before and after.Edward Adler is moving to California with his adored older brother, Jordan, and their parents: Mom is a scriptwriter for television, Dad is a mathematician who is home schooling his sons. They will get no further than Colorado, where the plane goes down. Napolitano's (A Good Hard Look, 2011, etc.) novel twins the narrative of the flight from takeoff to impact with the story of Edward's life over the next six years. Taken in by his mother's sister and her husband, a childless couple in New Jersey, Edward's misery is constant and almost impermeable. Unable to bear sleeping in the never-used nursery his aunt and uncle have hastily appointed to serve as his bedroom, he ends up bunking next door, where there's a kid his age, a girl named Shay. This friendship becomes the single strand connecting him to the world of the living. Meanwhile, in alternating chapters, we meet all the doomed airplane passengers, explore their backstories, and learn about their hopes and plans, every single one of which is minutes from obliteration. For some readers, Napolitano's premise will be too dark to bear, underlining our terrible vulnerability to random events and our inability to protect ourselves or our children from the worst-case scenario while also imagining in exhaustive detail the bleak experience of survival. The people around Edward have no idea how to deal with him; his aunt and uncle try their best to protect him from the horrors of his instant celebrity as Miracle Boy. 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. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal
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Imagine the pain of losing a single family member. Now, imagine getting on a plane with your entire family, both parents and an older brother, and when the plane crashes, you are the only passenger to survive. Such is the fate of 12-year-old Eddie Adler in this penetrating new novel from Napolitano (A Good Hard Look). Eddie awakens in the hospital with no immediate family, a huge social media presence as a celebrity survivor, an unshakable sense of hollowness, unsteady memories that can flare up painfully like a forest fire, and the need to understand who he is now, because in a tragedy like this, you don't just lose your future, you lose your past. He even effectively gets a new name; he becomes Edward when he goes to live with his aunt and uncle in New Jersey. Edward does go forward, in illuminating if unexpected ways. But what makes this narrative so effective is its alternating between the ordinary events unfolding on the flight and the aftermath of the crash, which keeps the sense of loss and the significance of what has happened fresh in readers' minds. VERDICT The painfully vivid story of one boy's coming of age redirected by tragedy.—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal

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