Everything I Never Told You

By Celeste Ng,

Book cover of Everything I Never Told You

Book description

The acclaimed debut novel by the author of Little Fires Everywhere and Our Missing Hearts

"A taut tale of ever deepening and quickening suspense." -O, the Oprah Magazine

"Explosive . . . Both a propulsive mystery and a profound examination of a mixed-race family." -Entertainment Weekly

"Lydia is dead. But…

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Why read it?

7 authors picked Everything I Never Told You as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I thought I was reading a mystery thriller but found myself in a layered investigation of a family. Celeste Ng uses intrigue and family tragedy to explore parental trauma and the impacts of racism and sexism. I felt connected with every character at different points in the story, which shows how empathetically Ng told this story. She really understands the complicated dynamics of family—and all the love, yearning, and jealousy that comes with it.

From Emma's list on Asian identity and heritage.

I could not put this down. This book immediately drew me in and never let me go.

The way the characters were written made me feel like I intimately knew each person, and the many mysteries and secrets among and between each family member made me want to know more. The undeniable effect of how we deal–or don’t deal–with grief is a thread throughout the book, one that I definitely connected with.

But, it was how each family member pursued, put down, or attempted to pass down their hopes and dreams that made me think about the dynamics within my…

From SunAh's list on family belonging.

Let's meet the Lee family: James Lee, a second-generation Chinese American and a brilliant historian, couldn't secure the coveted teaching position at Harvard because he "wasn't the right fit." Instead, he ended up teaching at a public college in a small town.

Marilyn Lee, an ambitious student aiming for medical school, abandoned her dream and married a Chinese man because she yearned for something different, only to find herself bored with the life of a housewife.

These two dissatisfied parents exert contrasting influences on their children, pushing them to pursue their own lost dreams regardless of their children's aptitude and…

This edgy saga centers on secrets and emotional undercurrents in families. When Lydia, the family’s pride and joy, is found dead in a lake, the family unravels. While the mother sets out to solve the crime, it’s Hannah, the youngest child, who holds the secret to what really happened. A great story wrapped around the intricacies of family ties, which is what inspires my own writing

In Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng follows the Lee family as they deal with the repercussions of their eldest daughter's mysterious death. It's the 1970s and the Lees are the only mixed-race family in their community. When high school junior Lydia is found dead, it's unclear how much the isolation of being the only "Oriental" played a part. What does become clear is that her family didn't know her as well as they thought. With an omniscient narrator, the author is able to know the thoughts and memories of each character so the reader understands everything they…

Nobody understands better than Ms. Ng that the driver of story is not in the plot’s arc, but within the protagonist’s head as she or he struggles to make sense of it. Everything I Never Told You reveals how the toxic expectations of a mother who accepts nothing but excellence from her children dismantles everything she loves. Ms. Ng’s ability to map a character’s tragic flaws and the internal struggles that result is unparalleled. I think I hate her. (Just kidding.)

From Scott's list on binge reads for book gluttons.

This book has one of the most spectacular first sentences I've ever encountered in a book and continued to be spectacular throughout. I felt it was crafted almost like a mathematical proof, where you start from the end and work backward towards first principles, seeking to understand every detail of the intricate combination of factors leading to the result. I have been seeking more books by Asian people as I've read so few books that in any way reflect my own experience of growing up Asian surrounded by white people. I love the fact that this book sets an Asian's…

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