I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
Published by Random House Publishing Group on January 14th 2020
Genres: Fiction, Literary, Coming of Age, Family Life, General
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
#ReadWithJenna Book Club Pick as Featured on Today * A twelve-year-old boy struggles with the worst kind of fame--as the sole survivor of a notorious plane crash--in this "stunning novel of courage and connection" (Helen Simonson, bestselling author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand). "A rich, big-hearted tapestry that leaves no one behind . . . Ann Napolitano brings clear-eyed compassion to every character."--Chloe Benjamin, bestselling author of 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 veteran 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 in a world without his family. He continues to feel that a part of himself 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 you find the strength to put one foot in front of the other? How do you learn to feel safe again? How do you find meaning in your life?
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.
Advance praise for Dear Edward
"Dear Edward made me think, nod in recognition, care about its characters, and cry, and you can't ask more of a novel than that."--Emma Donoghue, New York Times bestselling author of Room
"Weaving past and present into a profoundly beautiful, page-turning story of mystery, loss, and wonder, Dear Edward is a meditation on survival, but more important, it is about carving a life worth living. It is about love and hope and caring for others, and all the transitory moments that bind us together."--Hannah Tinti, author of The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley and The Good Thief
Dear Edward…Prepare for a cry fest! It combines everything I love in Contemporary novels, a soul-destroying plot, tug at your heart strings characters and a narrative that has me hugging my loved ones for dear life! It’s not the first time that I’ve thought of myself as a masochist.
A family relocating. Multiple lives forever intertwined through disaster. Loneliness. A boy left broken. Element of a plot that in any other dimension would make for a truly devastating effect. Only Ann Napolitano could take these effects and manage to align the stars. To bring a sense of ease and rightness by the final page. The originality tears at you. You grip the pages of the book so fiercely that it threatens to tear. Your guts are gripped with a furiousness that threatens to make you lose our lunch, but its sheer power has you almost on your knees.
The opening of Dear Edward sets the reader up and gives the threatening sense of unease that later propels the story forward. Passengers getting ready for a long-haul flight. Different backgrounds. Different personalities. The same ending. It was enough in itself to send a frisson of fear running through my veins. It’s a slow burn, two timelines drip feeding the reader, building the tension. One timeline detailing Edward post-crash and one pre-crash detailing the before, a young man known as Eddie. Each chapter that gave us small amounts of information of during the flight had me hungering for more. I had to know what, when and why?
Dear Edward, is a prime example of just letting the past be just that. Don’t go to bed angry with a loved one. Bury that hatchet, you just don’t know what may be lying around the corner. Grab life by the proverbial balls and do it! You might never be given another chance.
Edward is classed as the miracle boy. He has survived and rehabbed successfully from a plane crash, that statistically had a 0% survival chance. Miracle is not what Edward feels like he is…he has lost quite literally everything. His parents, who although, challenging loved him and his brother Jordan conditionally. He’s lost his big brother, his best friend and partner in crime. He died at the age of fifteen – he will never again experience another morning, the kiss of a girl, graduate or have the job of his dreams. The relationship they shared was special and his loss hits Edward the most. I was extremely drawn to Edward’s character, the loneliness just emanated from within the pages out to me. The crash had created an almost physical barrier between him and the world. Only the love and support of his aunt and uncle, Shay and his headmaster enabled him to know what his direction in life should be – helping people.
Living with his aunt and uncle was no easy task for Edward. These were two people he hadn’t had a huge amount of contact with over the years. They both, as a married couple, had had their share of heartbreak and misery too. Multiple miscarriages had broken them down to the point that their marriage too could become one other thing to add the pile of devastation. His uncle becomes obsessed with everything to do with the crash, the inquest and the online information regarding Edward. It gives him direction – he doesn’t want to lose Edward too. He needs to protect him. Edward ends up pointing out the fact that adults don’t know more than teenagers, they are in fact just older. It’s a thought process that helps his aunt and uncle repair a damaged marriage.
Dear Edward, is a story of loss and the heart-breaking journey from grief to acceptance. You can’t erase or go back in time, but you can come to a point that allows you to accept the cards you have been dealt. It can come in the form of a young man that knows he can give back to those that ache to have a piece of their departed back. Edward can do this, and he does. The incredible maturity he displays at this heart-breaking moment in his life is wrenching. He gives those people something the dead cannot – closure.
Dear Edward, is a compulsively addictive tale of loss. It is an examination of hidden strength and blossoming friendships. It was raw and breath-taking.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ann Napolitano’s new novel, Dear Edward, was published by Dial Press in January 2020 and was an instant New York Times bestseller. 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. In November 2019, Ann was long-listed for the Simpson/Joyce Carol Oates Literary Prize.
Dear Edward has been published by Dial Press in the United States, and by Viking Penguin in the United Kingdom. The novel currently has twenty-six 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 also an Indie Next Pick and an Okra Pick.
Her first novel, Within Arm’s Reach, was published in the United States by Crown Publishing, in the United Kingdom by Time Warner Books/Virago, in Spain by Ediciones Salamandra, and in Germany by Verlagsgruppe Droemer Weltbild. The novel was adapted and staged as a theatrical production in New York City in 2014.
Ann lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.