NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • READ WITH JENNA BOOK CLUB PICK AS FEATURED ON TODAY • “Make sure you have tissues handy when you read [this] sure-footed tearjerker” (NPR) about a young boy who must learn to go on after surviving tragedy
Soon to be an Apple TV+ series starring Connie Britton, written and executive produced by Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights and Parenthood)
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • Parade • LibraryReads
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.
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
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Tragedy casts a long shadow on a boy’s life in Ann Napolitano’s emotionally powerful novel. Twelve-year-old Edward Adler is moving across country to California with his family when their plane crashes, leaving him the only survivor. As he struggles to start a new life with his aunt and uncle, Edward wrestles with grief, guilt, unwanted notoriety, and the public’s expectations of how the “Miracle Boy” should live. Napolitano’s characters feel realistic and her insightful writing brings warmth, compassion, and wit to even the darkest moments of Edward’s life. Although it begins with unfathomable tragedy, Dear Edward is a hopeful tale about resilience and friendship.
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.
Emotional and thoughtful read
Edward is a twelve year old boy traveling to California with his mother Jane, father Bruce and fifteen year old brother Jordan. The family is moving to accommodate Jane’s new job as a screenwriter. The family has always lived in New York City. We start the story with everyone trudging through the Newark airport, security, and Jordan’s newfound independence. They then board the plane, Jane in first class and the rest of the family in the back.
There are brief descriptions of some of the other passengers and crew that we will meet throughout the story. Each has their own reasons for traveling to Los Angeles; some to start new lives, some for work, some for vacation. At the end of the first chapter, we move to evening of the same day when the NTSB is at the crash site of Trinity Airlines flight 2977 trying to make sense of the disaster. One person has survived this horrible crash, and that is twelve year old Edward.
Now known as the “miracle boy”, we follow Edward’s story as he tries to piece back together his life. In addition and alternating with Edward’s story, we follow the time that the plane was in the air learning more about those other passengers and crew, and how that Airbus A321 ended up in pieces on the ground of a remote part of Colorado.
Napolitano carefully unravels this story in bits to allow us to try to absorb what tragedy occurred on that June day in 2013. She feeds us bits of the time on the plane over the course of the next five years of Edward’s life. It is not an easy road for Edward, nor the passengers as the plane heads to its demise. Edward’s story is fascinating though, and teaches us that in every tragedy there is a chance for hope and rebirth.
The book tends to be a slower read as the story unfolds. There is so much to absorb regarding Edward’s feelings. It’s not an easy read, and there are times you wonder how this boy even survives. It is beautifully written, giving us characters surrounding Edward who have their own feelings to resolve. This book is a keeper. One that made me stop and think and be thankful for what I have.
4.5 stars on Goodreads
The protagonist becomes a part of your soul. His grief, confusion and pain is described so articulately that you can feel it your bones. His life line and clearly his soul mate, Shay seems to be the one blessing in his life after the terrible tragedy he walked out of. But the older they get and the more they share it is obvious to any that Shay needed saving herself so it was fate that these two lost but exceptionally compassionate and brilliant kids came together and made a substantial difference in each other’s lives and in those who had also needed a saving grace.
From beginning to end. I couldn’t put it down. Very well written.