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Dear Edward Reader Reviews

Dear Edward

Sharon Wood

Wow. Just once in a while, a book comes along that resonates, affects and captures my imagination and Dear Edward was one of these.

Wow. Just once in a while, a book comes along that resonates, affects and captures my imagination and Dear Edward was one of these.

Edward is 12 years old and travelling on Flight 2977 from Newark to Los Angeles with his parents and brother. His mother is about to take up a new job, prompting the move, and they all share a mixture of apprehension and excitement at the change in their lives. Around them are their 188 travelling companions, all with different lives and diverse reasons for travelling that day.

Flight 2977 never reaches its destination and 191 passengers perish. Edward, in a window seat, in a propitious position at that one particular date and time, is the sole survivor.  

Dear Edward chronicles the aftermath of the crash for Edward from the early days in the hospital to gong to live with his aunt and uncle, through appointments with physios and psychotherapists to his growing friendship with Shay, a neighbour who becomes his absolute lifeline. Interspersed with this journey are chapters set on the plane itself as it heads towards oblivion with the backstories of some of the passengers around them.  

Ann Napolitano writes in an observing, detached sort of way, but I found it all the more powerful for that. I think because of that I didn’t find it particularly difficult or depressing, although at times it did affect and was moving, but ultimately you wanted a good outcome for Edward. I enjoyed the plane chapters even more, and although there was no doubt at all about the outcome, the tension built and I really wanted to know why it happened.

I thought it was an intelligent, thought-provoking read and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Val Rowe

An unputdownable novel which evoked many emotions. A work of genius!

When Edward Alder becomes the sole survivor of a plane crash, he struggles to find a way to cope with everyday life. Losing his parents, but above all his beloved brother Jordan, his attempts to make a home with his childless aunt and uncle and to engage in normal activities is extremely challenging for him. His salvation lies in his developing relationship with his next door neighbour, Shay with whom he is able to face up to learning more about the fatal plane crash that affected so many lives in diverse ways.

The amount of research and revision Ann Napolitano undertook in order to complete her novel has resulted in an excellent tale that is incredibly skillfully woven. Chapters alternate between telling the period of time leading up to the crash and Edward's survival in the days and years that followed. It is tense, painful and incredibly tender. The reader feels close to the passengers and experiences the angst as the plane begins to have difficulties, yet the gentle telling of Edward's life after the crash has an atmosphere of mystery and intrigue as I never knew what was going to happen next. A particular strength of the author's writing is her development of characterisation as I became fascinated by not only Edward and Shay, but the relationship with, and between, his aunt and uncle, his Head Teacher and relatives of those who died in the tragedy.
The ending was a sheer delight!

I absolutely loved it and would recommend it unreservedly.

Alison Burns

As 12-year-old Edward is the sole survivor of a plane crash there is huge interest in him. How he recovers, and how he faces the future, makes for a gripping read. Read it in one sitting, just not on a flight.

I am a little taken aback by how much I loved this book. Edward is 12 years old and the sole survivor of a plane crash. The story focuses on Edward’s life as he tries to recover from the physical and mental effects of the crash, as well as a degree of normal growing up. As the sole survivor, there is huge interest in him from the media, social media, and the families of the other passengers.

The chapters alternate between Edward’s story and what happens on the flight, from pre-boarding through to the crash, building interest in other passengers and their lives.

The author’s use of language is spare and insightful. The style of writing helped create a sense of Edward’s withdrawn and traumatised personality, and his slow, gradual, emergence into his older teenage years.

This is a book to read in one sitting if you can, just maybe not on a flight.

Rebecca Kirkby

This is a lovely book that shows us how another person can have an impact on our life with a simple gesture. It deals with grief and loss in a beautiful way and I enjoyed reading it and thoroughly recommend it.

When the opportunity to read this book arose I was intrigued but also wary, after all a book where a boy’s immediate family and lots of strangers die? How depressing is that going to be? However, despite being sad it is also uplifting. Dear Edward is a lovely book that that follows the life of a young boy who is in a plane crash with his parents, older brother, and 188 strangers where he is the sole survivor.

It takes us through his journey of trying to come to terms with his loss, now living with his aunt and uncle who are also grieving for his parents and brother, as well as their own loses. Edward has the company of his new neighbour, Shay, who helps him gradually come to terms with his loss and learn how to deal with it. He also has a fantastic new headteacher who helps him heal in a very different but effective way.

Whilst all of this is happening we have alternating chapters that show us what was happening on the plane before the crash and introduces us to some of his fellow passengers, what they were thinking and feeling. This coinciding with the letters Edward finds that relatives of the passengers have written to him, gives us insight into the lives of the other victims.

Charlotte Walker


This is a beautiful book that handles the miraculous survival of Edward Adler, as well as the heartbreaking story of s young boy trying to come to terms with the devastating loss of his parents and most of all his big brother. This story is heartbreaking, uplifting, funny and poignant all in one amazing rollercoaster reading experience and is s brilliant book for those who enjoy stories like The Shock of the Fall.

Clare Reynolds

Ann Napolitano has written a thought-provoking and tender novel that openly confronts and challenges us to talk about grief and loss and to understand the power that connections between people truly have.

When Edward Adler boards Flight 2977 from New York to Los Angeles with his parents and brother, he could never have possibly imagined that he would be the only survivor of the flight after it crashes in a field near Colorado.

Ann Napolitano has written a thought-provoking and tender novel that openly confronts and challenges us to talk about grief and loss, and to understand the power that connections between people truly have.

Edward is an orphan, a walking miracle, a celebrity and a touchstone for all those people who are grieving for the family and friends they have lost.  They believe in some way, communicating with Edward will give them the peace and resolution they seek after having their loved ones so cruelly taken from them.

As Edward struggles to settle into his new life with his Aunt and Uncle, his tentative friendship with Shay, the young girl next door, proves to be the very thing he needs to help him start to live again.

The novel moves between the time before the crash and Edward’s life afterwards, and Ann Napolitano skilfully builds up our relationship with the passengers on the plane and Edward’s family, so that when the crash happens, it is truly shocking.  It made me realise how important my relationship with those I love really is, and how we often take them for granted.

In another writer’s hands, Dear Edward could have become a saccharine tale of love and redemption. However, Ann Napolitano has written an honest and truly engaging novel that is not afraid to confront the realities of grief and loss, but also shows us that we have more strength and love within us than we could possibly ever know.

Book Information

ISBN: 9780241384077
Publication date: 20th February 2020
Author: Ann Napolitano
Publisher: Viking Books, an imprint of Penguin
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 352 pages
Genres: Books of the Month, Reader Reviewed Books, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Relationship Stories, Star Books,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),