Dear Edward

By Ann Napolitano,

Book cover of Dear Edward

Book description


A transcendent coming-of-age story about the ways a broken heart learns to love again.

One summer morning, a flight takes off from New York to Los Angeles: there are 192 people aboard. When the plane suddenly crashes, twelve-year-old Edward Adler is the sole survivor.


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Why read it?

6 authors picked Dear Edward as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Napolitano puts words together so beautifully that sometimes I had to pause the audiobook so I could take a minute to reflect on and admire her turns of phrase. Sometimes writing like that can get bogged down, but that isn’t the case with this book.

The variety of characters and voices and the toying with the timeline kept me intrigued and wanting more. Though the story is tragic, the themes of love, friendship, and hope resonate. 

I am recommending this work of fiction selected by The Compassionate Friends Sibling Grief Book Club. Ann, with grace, handles not only the sibling loss of a brother, a boy the sole survivor of a plane crash, but the depth and breadth of grief from the aunt and uncle Edward lives with. Edward’s aunt grieving the loss of an unborn child and her sister, says to Edward, “You’re not okay. We are not okay. This is not okay.” I’m certain other bereaved siblings can relate, “he mourns what his brother has lost.” I related to how in a family we…

From Judy's list on sibling loss, love, and hope.

Dear Edward is a deep dive into the inner life of grieving boys. The real mom has gone missing in this novel, and her long shadow sits over the whole book. The childless aunt is the stand-in mom, and she shows us what it’s like to learn to love an ever-so-fragile boy who can’t speak about his sadness for the novel’s first half. This book nailed the tone and the handle-with-care instructions when boys begin to risk showing their emotions and their true selves. 

Twelve-year-old Edward Adler enters his coming-of-age years in the wake of a horrific tragedy: A plane crash kills his parents and his cherished older brother; Edward is the doomed flight’s only survivor. How does one “grow up” when your past is effectively erased, when those you most love have been yanked from your life, when there is no one else on earth who shares your childhood memories? Edward goes to live with childless relatives who have no idea how to relate to himhonestly, who would?and is thrust back into the normal rhythms and expectations of teen…

From William's list on poignant coming-of-age about boys.

Eddie is twelve when he sets out with his mother, father, and fifteen-year-old brother, to whom he is especially close, on a cross-country flight from Newark to Los Angeles. We know from the beginning what’s ahead: their plane crashes in Colorado due to copilot error, and everyone on board is killed. Except Eddie. Ann Napolitano handles the story beautifully with a dual timeline shifting from the later-relevant stories of a few of the 191 passengers as the plane proceeds toward doom, and what happens after the crash when, in a shattering moment of unfathomable trauma, Eddie loses his family and…

I'm not generally attracted to fiction about teenagers--and who relishes reading a story revolving around a plane crash?--but my topsy-turvy mindset during peak pandemic led me to this one, thanks to a recommendation from a trusted bookseller. (Forget reviews. The more smart booksellers you have in your life, the more good books you'll read.)

Twelve-year-old Edward is the sole survivor of an airliner crash in which his mother, father, and brother are killed. After recovery from grave injuries, he moves in with a childless aunt and uncle, must attend a new school, and try to escape macabre publicity for his…

From Julia's list on surviving inconsolable heartbreak.

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