March 2, 2020

Ann Napolitano: Dear Edward

Ann Napolitano: Dear Edward—How a 12-year-old boy copes with being the lone survivor of an airplane crash that killed 191—including his parents and brother

Two stories are told in alternating chapters in this riveting book. In the first, twelve-year-old Eddie Adler wakes up in a hospital bed to discover he is the lone survivor of a horrific airplane disaster. His parents, brother, and others—a total of 191 people—died when the plane plunged into a vacant field in Colorado. Miraculously, Eddie survived.

He is adopted by his mother’s sister and husband, a couple he barely knows and who have struggled for years to have a child of their own. Struggling to wrap his head around the disaster and survivor’s guilt, he befriends the girl across the street from their house. Over the coming years, she helps him grapple with why so many people want a piece of him, including the families of those who died. Their stories are told through a series of letters to him (thus the title, Dear Edward).

The alternate story tells of various other passengers on the doomed flight. Their lives, good and bad, are revealed in these vignettes. But you, dear reader, know they are never leaving the airplane, so you grasp the horror better than they do as they spend their precious last hours in their pursuits.

The ultimate questions is what, if anything, does Eddie owe the other families? His own path to answering that question is told in its heartbreaking way.

Why don’t I rate the books I read? The simple truth is I stop reading any book I don’t like, so I never finish it and don’t count it as a book read. Thus, I like every book I complete. The rest is subjective. Whether or not you will like the book is as much about whether the subject interests you and the author’s style is one you enjoy.

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