Dear Evan Hansen

DEAR EVAN HANSEN

The Novel

Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul

From the show’s creators comes the groundbreaking novel inspired by the hit Broadway show Dear Evan Hansen.

When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family’s grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. He just has to stick to a lie he never meant to tell, that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend.

Suddenly, Evan isn’t invisible anymore—even to the girl of his dreams.

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From the show’s creators comes the groundbreaking novel inspired by the hit Broadway show Dear Evan Hansen.

When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family’s grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. He just has to stick to a lie he never meant to tell, that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend.

Suddenly, Evan isn’t invisible anymore—even to the girl of his dreams. And Connor Murphy’s parents, with their beautiful home on the other side of town, have taken him in like he was their own, desperate to know more about their enigmatic son from his closest friend. As Evan gets pulled deeper into their swirl of anger, regret, and confusion, he knows that what he’s doing can’t be right, but if he’s helping people, how wrong can it be?

A simple lie leads to complicated truths in this big-hearted coming-of-age story of grief, authenticity and the struggle to belong in an age of instant connectivity and profound isolation.

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  • Theatre Communications Group
  • Paperback
  • May 2017
  • 144 Pages
  • 9781559365604

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$15.95

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About Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul

Steven Levenson is the Tony Award-winning book writer of Dear Evan Hansen. His plays include If I Forget, The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin, Core Values, The Language of Trees, and Seven Minutes in Heaven. Honors include the Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Outer Critics John Gassner Playwriting Award, Drama League Award, and Drama Desk nominations.

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are the Tony, Oscar® and Golden Globe-winning songwriting team behind the Broadway musicals Dear Evan Hansen (Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Helen Hayes Award) and A Christmas Story, The Musical (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Award nominations). Other musicals include Dogfight, (Lucille Lortel Award winner, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle, London Evening Standard Awards nominations), James and the Giant Peach, and Edges. Film projects include: La La Land (Lionsgate); Trolls (Dreamworks Animation); The Greatest Showman (FOX).

Praise

“Ravishingly bittersweet… A marvelous score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and an equally accomplished book by Steven Levenson…Dear Evan Hansen rolls onto some highly sensitive terrain—the writers are taking a serious look here at the ways in which we a s a culture exploit others’ misfortunes, a phenomenon abetted by the high-speed interventions of social media. The delight here is that Pasek, Paul, and Levenson do understand how to make this seemingly unmusical idea sing, and sing grandly.”Peter Marks, Washington Post

“So fine in its craft and rich in its themes that, like the best works of any genre, it rewards being seen again—and again.”Jesse Green, New York Magazine

“Terrific, gripping, and heartfelt. With a gorgeously melodic score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and a smart and soulful book by the playwright Steven Levenson, Dear Evan Hansen feels like a theatrical beachhead planted by (and, partly, for) millennials.”Adam Green, Vogue

Discussion Questions

1. From the first chapter, Evan presents his struggle with “the true me” (p. 8). But that struggle isn’t unique to Evan. How does each character struggle with being true to himself or herself?

2. Were you angry with Evan for not telling the truth about the letter? Why does he keep lying? Are there benefits to perpetuating the lie?

3. The writing in this novel is from the first-person perspective, both from Evan’s point of view and from Connor’s. How does this narrative technique impact the story?

4. Social media is an integral part of our daily lives, but it plays an especially major role in this story. In what ways does it positively impact the characters? How does it have a negative effect?

5. How is Zoe’s grief over Connor’s death and her mourning process different than the rest of her family’s? How does she process her mixed emotions and complicated relationship with her brother?

6. “What I do know for sure is that these people all seem to have a desperate desire to connect with someone. They feel inspired to share their incredibly personal stories” (p. 262). Why do people respond to The Connor Project when they don’t know any of the people involved? Can you think of a real-life example of something similar?

7. Were you surprised at the Murphys’ reaction to Evan telling the truth? Would you expect them to react differently?

8. Heidi tells Evan, “No parent knows what their kid is really up to…we’re all just doing the best we can” (p. 374). Why does Heidi tell Evan this? How does this statement extend beyond parenthood?

9. What kind of resolution is reached at the end? Why is it important that everything isn’t neatly resolved in a “happily ever after”?

10. If you’ve seen a performance of the DEAR EVAN HANSEN musical, how does this novel expand on the story from the show? How does the music affect the story?

11. Today is going to be an amazing day. Why?