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ARC Book Review: ‘Dear Edward’ by Ann Napolitano

Title: Dear Edward

Author: Ann Napolitano

Length: 352 pages

Publisher: Viking Books

I’d heard so many wonderful things about this book, I couldn’t wait to get started.

Synopsis: One summer morning, a flight takes off from New York to Los Angeles. There are 192 passengers onboard: among them is a young woman taking a pregnancy test in the airplane toilet, a Wall Street millionaire flirting with the air hostess; an injured solider returning from Afghanistan; and two beleaguered parents moving across country with their two adolescents sons, bickering over who gets the window seat. When the plane suddenly crashes in a field in Colorado, the younger of these boys, 12-year-old Edward Adler, is the sole survivor. Dear Edward depicts Edwards life in the crash’s aftermath as he struggles to make sense of the meaning of his survival, the strangeness of his sudden fame, and find his place in the world without his family. In his new home with his aunt and uncle, the only solace comes from his friendship with the girl next door, Shay. Together Edward and Shay make a startling discovery: hidden in his uncle’s garage are stacks of letters from the relatives of other passengers, all addresses to Edward. As Edward comes of age against the backdrop of sudden tragedy, he must confront some of life’s most profound questions: how do we make the most of the time we are given? And what does it mean not to survive, but to truly live?

I absolutely adored this book. It was my last read of 2019 (I’ve saved the review for publication date) but it was the perfect way to finishing the year. It was emotional yet ultimately uplifting.

The book begins with Edward and his family queuing to go through airport security, to board a flight taking them from New York to Los Angeles. Whilst in the waiting room Edward notices other passengers waiting to bored the flight. The story then splits into Edwards life after the plane crash where he’s the only survivor and all the passengers on the plane perspectives leading up to the crash.

Edward is a fascinating main character. His story after the crash was incredibly emotional as he learns to cope with his injuries, his new life and the loss of his family. The way grief is described in this book is so heartbreaking and honest. It gave me shivers. I was desperate for Edward to be able really begin living his life again and it was beautiful to read his journey. The effect Edwards new life has on Aunt and Uncle who took him in was fascinating too. Also his friendship with Shay, the girl who lived across the street was beautiful to read. You could tell she was saving his life just by being there for him. I was wondering if it would turn into a romance, but I won’t spoil and I’ll let you read it to find out. But it was a wonderful ending.

The bit that really shone for me though was all the sections of this novel that take place on the plane leading up to the crash. You meet a variety of different character’s, I think it’s like 8. It was intriguing to see them all interacting. Oh, I’m really not doing this justice, but it’s just got a charm and a realness to it. As the plane begins to crash, and the characters all start to realise what’s happening, there’s beautiful section from Edwards mum that is absolutely heartbreaking. It was so touching. I had to stop and have a little tear, as always.

This book has obviously been well researched, as the details of the place crashing, and the pilots trying to stop is brilliant. Also to be able to get all those stories of the plane characters in the book, but not overwhelm it was great. And the complexity of Edwards characters was handled so well. Ann Napolitano is a terrific writer.

I recommend this book completely. I enjoyed it immensely. Heartbreaking yet beautiful, it was wonderful. However I’m not sure I’ll ever get in a plane again.

Thanks to Viking Books UK for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out February 20th.

Until the next review

JTH

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