When I tell you that 12-year-old Edward of the title is the only survivor of a plane crash that takes his beloved brother and parents, you will probably decide that this book is too depressing. Please don't make this mistake! Ann Napolitano does the impossible and transforms unspeakable tragedy into an uplifting story of love, resiliency, and grace.— Samantha
“A stunning portrayal of what it means to be a survivor and the fine balance between surviving and actually finding the will to move forward from the shattered remains of your life. This is what 12-year-old Eddie — now known as Edward — must deal with as the sole survivor of a plane crash in which 191 people, including his immediate family, perished. Dear Edward is a novel that pierces you to the core with its depiction of grief, guilt, loneliness, and remorse, but through glimpses of hope, friendship, and kindness, shows how Edward slowly mends.”
— Maxwell Gregory, Lake Forest Book Store, Lake Forest, IL
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Read with Jenna Book Club Pick as Featured on Today • A “dazzling” novel that “will break your heart and put it back together again” (J. Courtney Sullivan, bestselling author of Saints for All Occasions) about a young boy who must learn to go on after surviving tragedy
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • Parade • LibraryReads • “A reading experience that leaves you profoundly altered for the better . . . Don’t miss this one.”—Jodi Picoult, bestselling author of Small Great Things and A Spark of Light
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
About the Author
Ann Napolitano 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 and has taught fiction writing at Brooklyn College’s MFA program, New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, and Gotham Writers Workshop. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.
“A surprisingly uplifting story, full of hope and dry humor, with an underlying, noncloying message about the decency of strangers.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A harrowing yet ultimately optimistic story about the sole survivor of a plane crash.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“A haunting novel that’s a masterful study in suspense, grief and survival . . . Napolitano’s fearless examination of what took place models a way forward for all of us. She takes care not to sensationalize, presenting even the most harrowing scenes in graceful, understated prose, and gives us a powerful book about living a meaningful life during the most difficult of times.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)
“Transportative . . . Make sure you have tissues handy when you read Ann Napolitano’s Dear Edward, a sure-footed tearjerker.”—NPR
“Exquisite . . . an insightful and moving testament to the indomitability of the human spirit.”—People
“Ann Napolitano’s new novel is the best book about a young person I’ve read since Emma Donoghue’s Room, and if there’s any justice in the world, it’s going to be a phenomenon: outstanding storytelling, great writing, absolutely The Real Deal.”—John Boyne, bestselling author of The Heart’s Invisible Furies
“Dear Edward isn’t just a beautiful novel, clear-eyed and compassionate even as it pulls us into difficult terrain. It’s an examination of what makes us human, how we survive in this mysterious world, how we take care of each other. It’s the kind of book that forces you to trust that the author, who will break your heart, will also lead you toward something wondrous, something profound. After this brilliant novel, I will follow Ann Napolitano to the ends of the earth.”—Kevin Wilson, author of Nothing to See Here
“This is a stunning novel of courage and connection in the face of unimaginable loss. It’s beautifully written, with characters so intensely alive you will hold your breath as they break your heart—an extraordinary read.”—Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
“From its breathtaking premise—a boy is the sole survivor of an airplane crash—to its absolutely rhapsodic finish, Dear Edward is about the persistence of hope, the depth of love, and the unexpected, radiant moments that make up our lives. If I loved this stunning novel any more, I’d have to marry it.”—Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and Cruel Beautiful World
“I loved Dear Edward so, so much. It made me laugh and weep. So many times I had to stop after reading a paragraph to acknowledge the beauty of Ann Napolitano’s writing. In Edward, his friend Shay, and the passengers on the airplane, Napolitano offers unforgettable characters, people you know you will miss after you’ve turned the book’s last page. Magnificent!”—Lily King, author of Euphoria
“Contains real bite [and] authenticity . . . Edward’s path to finding purpose and connection is realized with an affecting, quiet empathy.”—Entertainment Weekly
“A delicate story of one boy’s physical and psychological recovery . . . Napolitano captures the subtle shades of Edward’s spirit like the earliest intimations of dawn. . . . Persistently lovely . . . one of the most touching stories you’re likely to read in the new year.”—The Washington Post
“Stunning . . . In this life-affirming tale, the downright unbearable blossoms into a testament to the power of love and grace.”—Vogue
“Napolitano weaves Edward’s devastating post-crash experience with heart-pounding chapters set during the final hours and minutes of the flight. Though there’s so much tragedy and loss in this novel, there is also a lot of hope.”—Real Simple, “The Best Books of 2020 (So Far)”
“A poignant novel about grief and hope.” —Marie Claire
“This haunting story of how one young man copes with the unthinkable cards life has dealt him is heartbreaking, insightful, and altogether unforgettable.”—Town & Country
“A twelve-year-old boy is the sole survivor of a Los Angeles–bound plane crash. If this premise doesn't hook you, the prose will. And the flight is filled with a Lost-esque cast of characters that make the fatal crash even more devastating.”—TheSkimm