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Literature / Dear Evan Hansen

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I have to prove why today is going to be an amazing day when all the evidence suggests otherwise. Every day that came before today was definitely not amazing, so why would I think today would be any different?

Dear Evan Hansen is a novel, written by Val Emmich with Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul. It is based on the 2016 musical of the same name.

Just like its predecessor, Dear Evan Hansen focuses on Evan Hansen, a high school senior who struggles with social anxiety. After the suicide of classmate Connor Murphy, a misunderstanding leads Evan to fabricate an imaginary friendship with Connor, in an attempt to comfort his grieving family. The lie quickly spirals out of control, however, and Evan, who has suddenly been thrown into the spotlight and given everything he ever wanted, has to grapple with a moral dilemma: if a horrible lie is helping people, is it really so bad?

This wiki will only list tropes that apply to the novelization and not the musical. For the original work, see Dear Evan Hansen


Dear Evan Hansen contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: Unsurprisingly, the novel expands upon the story of the musical, giving more detailed backstories to existing characters and adding a few new ones. The addition of Connor's narration, especially, gives an originally mysterious character a chance to give his side of the story.
    • We also get a bit more on Evan’s dad. It’s his brushing off of something Evan was proud of (fixing the sign at the park he was working at) in favor of informing Evan about his little half-brother on the way is that serves as the catalyst for Evan’s suicide attempt.
    • While the original musical only elaborated on Zoe's fate at the end of the play, Alana and Jared finally get proper endings in this version.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: Connor states that he considers himself "fluid," being attracted to both girls and guys.
  • All Musicals Are Adaptations: Inverted. This is an adaptation of an original musical.
  • Broken Pedestal: Connor's idyllic vision of Miguel is shattered when he seemingly ignores an earnest text message that he views as his last-ditch attempt to find help. Though it turns out to be because Miguel was busy at work to respond, Connor never gets a chance to learn this.
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  • Canon Foreigner: The novel introduces Miguel, Connor’s real friend and someone he’s heavily implied to have had a sexual relationship with.
  • Embarrassing Initials: Mark Evan Hansen. Not so good when you want to be recognized by other people, huh?
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Considering the fact that no one can see Connor, he listens in on a lot of conversations that he was never intended to hear. Among other things, he's able to piece together who Heidi is when she calls Evan to check in on him, overhears his family talking about him, and watches as Zoe sits alone in her bedroom, writing "Requiem."
  • Foreshadowing: Throughout the book, Evan has suicidal thoughts, such as wanting to throw himself out of a moving car due to his anxiety of being with Zoe as she drives. He even has self-harm tendencies, like repeatedly punching a stiff baseball glove until his hand is red. This is because he failed to kill himself by jumping off a tree at Ellison Park, and yearns for death to escape his social anxiety.
  • Grief Song: Defied by Zoe with "Requiem." In-universe, she writes the song shortly after Connor's death. She doesn't realize that Connor is watching as she's writing it.
  • Hidden Depths: In the musical, Connor’s a bit of a mystery to both the characters and the audience, but the novel provides a little insight to his character. The novel shows that he’s well-read, observant, intelligent, and an artist.
  • Hispanic Maid: Miguel jokes about this, saying he's pretty sure he's the first Mexican in Connor's house who wasn't paid to be there.
  • Middle Name Basis: Evan, who considers his first name little more than a technicality. He and his mother have never used it, and his father's departure only cemented it as a part of him he wants nothing to do with.
  • Posthumous Narration: Connor Murphy.
  • Role Reprisal: Mike Faist, who played Connor in the original Broadway production, returned to lend his voice to the character's chapters in the audiobook.
  • Shout-Out: Connor suggests that Evan should tell people he broke his arm "battling a racist dude," citing To Kill a Mockingbird as inspiration.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Possibly. Connor’s surprised to hear Zoe’s claims about him screaming that he’d kill her. However, it’s not discussed whether or not Connor's narration is downplaying his actions or if Zoe was just that afraid of him.

The me I am is not the me that I was.

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