"Dear Edward," by Ann Napolitano
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"I choose Dear Edward because it is a book about love and loss and finding your way after the unthinkable," said Jenna. "I thought to start our year off, even though hopefully nothing this dramatic happens in everyone’s life, we can all think about a new lease on life."The novel centers around a 12-year-old boy named Edward after he is the sole survivor of a plane crash that claims the lives of 183 passengers, including his family. After the heartbreaking ordeal, he has to find the resilience to create a new life for himself with his aunt and uncle.
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“It deals with grief and there are definitely sad moments but ultimately, I found it to be a really hopeful, beautiful book," said Jenna.The book, Napolitano's third, was inspired by a 2010 plane crash that left a 10-year-old Dutch boy as the sole survivor of an aircraft traveling from South America to London."I was obsessed with this news story and I knew fairly quickly that I was going to have to write my way into understanding how that little boy would be able to go on after losing his family and walking away from the wreckage," said Napolitano.
The story goes back and forth in time between Edward's present-day struggle to rebuild his life and the doomed plane traveling from New Jersey to California with all of its various passengers. In weaving the stories together, Napolitano keeps humanity at the center of the story and reminds readers of the immense loss that occurred in the plane crash.
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Jenna said, "The theme or the message that I took away is really about shared humanity, about goodness, about faith, about finding redemption and grace even after the unthinkable and that’s what Edward does."
As we start off 2020, this book asks readers to think about new beginnings. For Edward, something terrible has happened but he finds the grace to keep going.
"I think when we are starting our year, there was no better book to talk about what we want for ourselves. There can be this newness, this rebirth even if nothing terrible has happened," said Jenna.
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