Little Fires Everywhere

By Celeste Ng,

Book cover of Little Fires Everywhere

Book description

The #1 New York Times bestseller!

"Witty, wise, and tender. It's a marvel." -Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train and A Slow Fire Burning

"To say I love this book is an understatement. It's a deep psychological mystery about the power of motherhood, the intensity of teenage…

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Why read it?

8 authors picked Little Fires Everywhere as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

“It came, over and over, down to this. What made someone a mother? Was it biology alone, or was it love?” Nineties suburban America sets the scene for Ng’s second novel, which I adored for its exploration of mothering in various forms – surrogacy, adoption, abortion, and the blood that isn’t always thick enough to bond us. 

As someone who tends to write in the first person, I hugely admire Ng’s ability to move between different characters’ perspectives. The empathy she incites in her reader is a testament to the sensitivity with which she handles her varied cast. Having felt…

From Amy's list on modern motherhood.

In this seemingly perfect neighborhood, all that glitters is not gold. This is the story of the unraveling of Shaker Heights, an opulent neighborhood in Ohio. A single mother and her daughter rent a house and change all the unwritten rules in this seemingly perfect community. The story unfolds in a matter that you simply must know, literally, what is going to happen next. The characters are well developed, and you find yourself rooting for the underdog. 

From Deena's list on that I couldn't put down.

Mother-daughter relationships are fertile grounds for exploration—but be prepared to navigate some landmines. As a daughter myself and the mother of two strong adult daughters, I find myself drawn to books that explore these complex relationships. Celeste Ng masterfully depicts the intricacies, drawing examples from two families who are seemingly worlds apart. Elena Richardson and her family live in Shaker Heights, an upscale, suburban community outside Cleveland. Mia Warren, a mysterious artist, and her daughter Pearl arrive in town and rent a house from the Richardsons. As the story unfolds, the Richardson children are drawn to Mia, with sensibilities so…

I loved the dynamics of the two families and how the mothers are kind of thrown together and forced into a relationship neither wants. Both families have their secrets, dysfunctions, and hurdles to overcome. And that’s the exact dynamic I had in mind when I wrote my book; the Wilsons, being broke, surviving off the land, and dealing with their goodhearted, kind father who pushes them all to take up his fight and hack his former employer (Colossal Oil) and the Carters, the rich family that owns the oil company and yet are deeply tied to the Wilsons. Give me…

From Melanie's list on poor vs. rich.

Because nothing is more entertaining than reading about messed up families. I mean, really messed up. But there’s a story here that goes beyond typical family dysfunction. It would be so easy to paint a wide swath across the pages of a story, labeling someone as the evil one. But isn’t everyone flawed? And don’t we all have some good in us? Ng shows us a family that is raw and pained. An engaging read from start to finish. When you are done with reading this, be sure to check out the limited TV adaptation with Reese Witherspoon.

Best read…

I made the mistake of taking Little Fires Everywhere with me on a rare trip to Mexico with friends I hadn’t seen in a while. I really did want to catch up but kept finding myself sneaking out of happy hour to huddle by the pool alone with this novel which I tore through in two days. In this novel, Mrs. Richardson, a third-generation resident of picture-perfect Cleveland Heights, comes head-to-head with boho single mom, Mia Warren, who is new in town. What unfolds is an unexpected story about control versus chaos and the unpredictable consequences both can wreak. You…

From Virginia's list on suspense in a suburban setting.

This story takes place in the orderly, progressive suburban town of Shaker Heights. The lives of two families the “perfect” Richardson family and an enigmatic, artistic mother and her daughter – interweave and are changed forever. The novel explores the layered complexities of power, the conformist’s vs. artist’s life, and motherhood.

From Kate's list on dysfunctional families.

Sometimes a book comes along that challenges my preconceptions. To me, Little Fires Everywhere seemed like another suburban melodrama populated by rich entitled white folks—and, yes, that accurately describes a certain percentage of it. But into this privileged Cleveland neighborhood enters Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl, and everything changes. Prepare for a cavalcade of lies and dysfunction and hypocrisy!

Little Fires Everywhere uses perspective to explore the weight of long-held secrets on our lives, but to me the book’s enduring power is the effect of perspective on our conception of today’s world. We’re living in an era when notions…

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