BOOK REVIEW: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng


ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon):

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue—in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.

When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia’s older brother, Nathan, is certain that the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it’s the youngest of the family—Hannah—who observes far more than anyone realizes and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened.

A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family, and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.


This is by far the best fiction book I have read in a long time.  The writing style is absolutely beautiful.  Celeste Ng begins the story in the present time (late 1970s) where a family has just lost a daughter/sister, and she floats the reader back and forth in time, seamlessly weaving in pieces of the puzzle that lead to what happened to Lydia Lee.

But the story isn’t just about Lydia, and it isn’t just about the Lee family.  It’s about society in the 1960s to 1970s, the struggles of a mixed race family, lost dreams, internal conflict, family, secrets, lies and love.  The themes in this book are extremely powerful and the story evokes a range of emotions for the reader from beginning to end.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys fiction/literature.

Published by Kelly Schuknecht

Kelly Schuknecht is a marketer with a background in the publishing industry. She is passionate about all things related to books and loves helping authors navigate the world of social media for book promotion. She recently launched the course Marketing Your Book on TikTok.

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