I’ve been signed up to NetGalley for months, but due to so many author requests I haven’t had time to apply for anything! Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano is the first novel I’ve been able to write via NetGalley, and what an amazing book to start with and recommend.
***AD: This post contains press samples all thoughts are my own***
One summer morning, a flight takes off from New York to Los Angeles. There are 216 passengers aboard: among them a young woman taking a pregnancy test in the airplane toilet; a Wall Street millionaire flirting with the air hostess; an injured soldier returning from Afghanistan; and two beleaguered parents moving across the country with their adolescent 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 Edward’s 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 sacks of letters from the relatives of the other passengers, addressed 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 just to survive, but to truly live?
(Taken from NetGalley)
Although it was the simple yet beautiful cover that initially caught my eye, the initial premise was what had me dying to read Dead Edward by Ann Napolitano. Such an original and intriguing plot for a novel, and I curious as to how the author would approach it.
The style of Dear Edward is very modern and literary, which fits in well with the type of book that it is. From the synopsis we already know the final outcome of the book – something which many authors attempt, yet only a few do really well – and so Napolitano has just character development and emotional pull alone to keep the reader engaged. She totally pulls it off, and I found that knowing the ending made the book even more powerful – especially during those final climatic scenes.
The book is written from two perspectives – firstly, from Edward’s point of view as we see him struggle to come to terms with life after the crash, and secondly, from multiple accounts of the people on the plane before the crash has happened. Some of it focuses on Edward and his family, however many parts follow various different passengers, from the supposedly reincarnated free-spirit Florida to the anxious Linda with a life-changing secret discovered on board the flight. I found these flight chapters fascinating, and they become even more poignant once we discover, alongside Edward and best friend Shay, the letters sent to him from the families of the deceased. It’s cleverly written, and the audience puts the pieces together at the same time as Edward and Shay do.
What really makes Dear Edward an exceptional book is the emotional development of the characters. I felt like I personally knew each of those passengers on the plane, making their final moments all the more heart-wrenching. The descriptions of Edward are also so well-done, and Napolitano’s writing puts you straight into the mind of a 12 year old boy who has suffered a devastating trauma – not something I imagine is an easy feat. Witnessing the struggles he faces through his own distorted viewpoint makes for fascinating reading, and really does make you question the actions of people in some respects.
There’s nothing negative to say about Dear Edward – I’d go as far as saying it’s the best book I’ve read so far this year. Ann Napolitano is an incredibly talented author with a real talent at evoking emotion in the reader (despite Edward often exhibiting an understandable lack of emotion) and I’m so excited to read more of her works. This novel is an absolute must-read for fans of literary and modern fiction, so it’s a definite recommendation from me.
If you’d like to order a copy of Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano then you can do so using the following links:
Ann Napolitano’s new novel, Dear Edward, will be published by Dial Press in January 2020. 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.
Ann lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.
(Taken from Ann’s website)
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