Julie's Reviews > Dear Edward

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
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bookshelves: 2019

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano is a 2020 Dial Press publication.

A sad, uncomfortable, and heartrending journey- but ultimately a story of hope and inspiration!

Twelve- year old, Edward is the sole survivor of a plane crash, which took the lives of 191 people, including Edward’s parents and older brother. Now living with his aunt and uncle, Edward is faced with the daunting task of recovering physically, mentally and emotionally. This story follows Edward's coming of age journey, as he copes with the aftermath of the crash.

Along with his devoted family, Edward also finds an unexpected support system through his friendship with Shay, one his neighbors. The two become inseparable, when Shay offers Edward her unconditional support, honesty, and love. Their relationship defied convention at times, but Shay became Edward's rock on so many levels.

Edwards’s present -day journey is alternated with the stories of a select group of passengers who were on board the plane with Edward, giving the reader a bit of insight into their personal lives leading up to the flight, and how they co-mingled on the plane before the crash.

This book was inspired by true events and is understandably melancholy. The story is centered around grief, the way it affects people in different ways, and how they cope. How will Edward come out on the other side of something this traumatic?

Right from the beginning, I wanted to hug Edward and comfort him. What a resilient soul, so broken, but also brave and determined. If the story had stayed centered on Edward and the obstacles he and his family faced and how they worked through their grief and all the psychological pain of recovering under the glare of the media spotlight, I would have given the book all the stars and a rave review.

However, I have some mixed feelings about the airplane sequences. It was very uncomfortable to read about these people under those circumstances. I wondered if there might have been a different way to introduce them- perhaps telling their story as a prelude to the crash, before turning the spotlight over to Edward.

I felt it would only be right to give the reader some insight into Edward’s life before the crash, and naturally I could understand the impulse of the surviving family members to reach out to Edward, to want to ask him questions, but these passages made me squirm with unease and kept the book shrouded in pain and darkness longer than necessary- often overshadowing or disrupting insights into Edward’s progress.

I also found it a bit curious that the author chose to relate the story in such a neutral, disconnected format. Except for Shay, the other character's backstory and interactions often seemed to take place at a great distance, save for one or two moments of intimate conversations.

However, as the story progressed the grayness slowly lifts, and the sun gradually begins to peek out from behind the gloomy clouds, eventually lighting Edward’s world with long overdue, but generous warmth.


Edward's journey is long, slow, and painful, but he finds strength and wisdom through many avenues, building mental and emotional fortitude with grace, despite his profound grief.

But, of course, he didn’t do it alone. I would be lying if I didn’t admit, that for me, Shay steals the show. What an amazing character!! In this whole drama, she was the bright light that led Edward out of the tunnel of darkness. That is not to say that others in his life weren’t as essential- because they were. It took all these special people, who stayed solid and committed to Edward, for him to become whole again- and he was worth every bit of the effort! Their work and support paid off and I think each of them was blessed and touched by Edward as well. I loved the way the story concluded on such a wonderful and positive note. This story is a testament to the human spirit, and to the power of love and friendship.

Although, I felt the story was too remote much of the time, it did eventually morph into a stirring, inspirational and uplifting novel.

I’m very conflicted about my rating here. The book has some issues that were big enough to take me out of the story at times, but it was so moving and profound, I hate to lower my rating. I’ve been waffling between a 3 or 4- which usually means I seek middle ground with a 3.5- but I couldn’t decide if I wanted to round up or down. Ultimately, despite some reservations I’ve decided to round up because the story is one that has lingered in my mind for days, which, for me, overrides some of the book’s weaker areas.

3.5 rounded up
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Reading Progress

June 12, 2019 – Shelved
June 12, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
October 30, 2019 – Started Reading
October 30, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019
February 5, 2020 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 50 (50 new)

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message 1: by Glenda (new) - added it

Glenda Ricord I'm getting this as the BOMC selection for December. Hope you are enjoying it.


Julie Glenda wrote: "I'm getting this as the BOMC selection for December. Hope you are enjoying it."

Thank you, Glenda!! I'm waiting for the book to arrive!! I won a copy on Goodreads and they asked me to put it on my 'currently reading' shelf- but I never got the book. I'll look forward to hearing your thoughts on it, while I wait! 🤗💖🤗


message 3: by Tinichix (new) - added it

Tinichix (nicole) Great review. This is on my list and for some reason I keep putting it off.


message 4: by Karen (new)

Karen Great review ..as always Julie!


Julie Tinichix wrote: "Great review. This is on my list and for some reason I keep putting it off."

Thank you, Tinichix! It's a very good story, a rewarding read- but it is a bit depressing at first. Despite some flaws, I still recommend it. 💖


Julie Karen wrote: "Great review ..as always Julie!"

Thank you so much, Karen!! 💖


message 7: by J.K. (new)

J.K. Grice Amazing review, Julie!


Julie J.K. wrote: "Amazing review, Julie!"

Thank you so much, J.K.!! 💖


message 9: by Amy (new)

Amy What a great review! This one is on my radar but I haven't added to Mt. TBR just yet.


Paromjit Fabulous review as always, Julie xx


message 11: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Lovely review Julie 🤗💕


message 12: by Antoinette (new) - added it

Antoinette Excellent review as always, Julie!


Julie Amy wrote: "What a great review! This one is on my radar but I haven't added to Mt. TBR just yet."

Thank you, Amy!! It's definitely a worthy book, despite some of my misgivings. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it! 💖


Julie Paromjit wrote: "Fabulous review as always, Julie xx"

Thanks so much, Paromjit!! 💖


message 15: by Lyn (new) - added it

Lyn Caglio Loved your review, Julie. This book is on my radar - just not sure I’m in the mood for such an emotional read right now. Think I have a bit of the winter doldrums. 😐


Julie Maureen wrote: "Lovely review Julie 🤗💕"

Thank you very much, Maureen!! 💖


Julie Antoinette wrote: "Excellent review as always, Julie!"

Thank you very much, Antoinette! 💖


Julie Lyn wrote: "Loved your review, Julie. This book is on my radar - just not sure I’m in the mood for such an emotional read right now. Think I have a bit of the winter doldrums. 😐"

Thank you so much, Lyn!! I hear you- it's so cold and gloomy right now. The book is a bit heavy at times, for sure, and the mood lingers deep into the book- so maybe you are right to give this one a pass for the time being. The conclusion definitely makes it a worthwhile journey. 💖


message 19: by Richard (new)

Richard A fine write up Julie .......... this one is on the list.
It’ll be interesting to compare notes when I get to read it.


Julie Richard wrote: "A fine write up Julie .......... this one is on the list.
It’ll be interesting to compare notes when I get to read it."


Thank you very much, Richard!! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this one! 😊😊


message 21: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn Awesome review, Julie. Sounds like a difficult, emotional read. You did it justice.


Julie Carolyn wrote: "Awesome review, Julie. Sounds like a difficult, emotional read. You did it justice."

Thanks so much, Carolyn!! It was emotional- but worth it in the end. 💖


message 23: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Fabulous review, Julie! I am dying to read this!


Julie Meredith wrote: "Fabulous review, Julie! I am dying to read this!"

Thank you very much, Meredith!! I hope you like the book- I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it! 💖


Marialyce A very special book and review, Julie!


Brandice I loved this story, and am glad to see you mostly enjoyed it too, Julie! Well-said :)


Angela M Julie , I loved this story, Edward and your wonderful review !


Julie Marialyce wrote: "A very special book and review, Julie!"

Thank you, Marialyce! It was a very moving story! 💖


Julie Brandice wrote: "I loved this story, and am glad to see you mostly enjoyed it too, Julie! Well-said :)"

Thank you, Brandice!! The characters will stay with me for a long time to come! 💖


Julie Angela M wrote: "Julie , I loved this story, Edward and your wonderful review !"

Thanks so much, dear Angela!! Edward is a very special character! 💖


message 31: by Susan's Reviews (new)

Susan's Reviews Excellent review, as always Julie. I was thinking of reading this book, but my concern is the quality of the writing. Even in my "light" reading, the writing has to be relatively decent. I gagged on The Tattooist of Auschwitz for this very reason - in my opinion, the writing was abominable/infantile. I was outraged, actually. I'm also trying to steer away from books with a depressing tone: it's winter here in Canada and I am pretty much housebound during the snow storms, so I try to read a lot of light fiction during this time. Should I give this one a try in the summer?


Julie Susan's Reviews wrote: "Excellent review, as always Julie. I was thinking of reading this book, but my concern is the quality of the writing. Even in my "light" reading, the writing has to be relatively decent. I gagged o..."

Thanks you, Susan! Yes, definitely give the book a try. It is a little heavy, but the pay off in the end is worth it. The airplane sequences were not my favorite and the author chose to keep some character's at arm's length, which was curious, but overall, I think you will want to meet Edward and his friend Shay- who make it all worth while in the end! 💖


message 33: by Jen (new) - added it

Jen An honest review. This one is on my list. Thanks for your thoughts, Julie


Julie Jen wrote: "An honest review. This one is on my list. Thanks for your thoughts, Julie"

Thank you very much, Jen!! I hope you like the book! Although some things bothered me- this is a very good story! 💖


JanB Julie, excellent review! The relationship between Shay and Edward was one of my favorite things about this book. It's a story that still lingers in my mind too. I loved it despite a few weaknesses, and went with how the book made me feel.


Julie JanB wrote: "Julie, excellent review! The relationship between Shay and Edward was one of my favorite things about this book. It's a story that still lingers in my mind too. I loved it despite a few weaknesses,..."

Thanks so much, Jan!! I felt the same way about this one- such a moving story despite the flaws. I won't forget Edward and Shay anytime soon! 💖


message 37: by Kaceey (new)

Kaceey Excellent review Julie!💜


Julie Kaceey wrote: "Excellent review Julie!💜"

Thank you very much, Kaceey!! 💖


message 39: by Books Just 4 Me (new)

Books Just 4 Me Such a good review! Great insight 😉


Julie Books Just 4 Me wrote: "Such a good review! Great insight 😉"

Thank you very much, BJ4M!! 💖


message 41: by Tina (new)

Tina An amazing and thorough review Julie!!🌟💖


message 42: by Kat (new)

Kat Valentine Another fabulous review Julie!!💗💞😉💋


message 43: by Yun (new)

Yun Terrific and insightful review, Julie! I've seen a lot of favorable reviews of this book, and it's on my library queue at the moment. I appreciated your thoughts around what didn't quite work for you in this story, and I will keep those in mind as I read this for myself. Looking forward to comparing notes after! :)


Julie Tina wrote: "An amazing and thorough review Julie!!🌟💖"

Thank you, dear Tina!! 💖


Julie Kat wrote: "Another fabulous review Julie!!💗💞😉💋"

Thanks so much, Kat!! 💖


Julie Yun wrote: "Terrific and insightful review, Julie! I've seen a lot of favorable reviews of this book, and it's on my library queue at the moment. I appreciated your thoughts around what didn't quite work for y..."

Thank you, Yun!! I'm really looking forward to your review for this one! Enjoy! 💖


message 47: by Annette (new)

Annette WOW, fantastic review Julie.


Julie Annette wrote: "WOW, fantastic review Julie."

Thank so much, Annette!! 💖


Victoria Love your thoughts on this, Julie. Oddly, the flight sequences were what made the book for me. Seeing those moments before what we all knew would happen made me think of how we walk through life without thinking 'at any moment,' the ordinariness of it all.


Julie Victoria wrote: "Love your thoughts on this, Julie. Oddly, the flight sequences were what made the book for me. Seeing those moments before what we all knew would happen made me think of how we walk through life wi..."

Thanks so much, Victoria!! I'm not a big fan of flying, so yes, those exact thoughts were running through my mind- which is why it made me uncomfortable. 😲 I did love Edward and Shay, though! 💖


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