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Everything I Never Told You

Celeste Ng

Penguin
Pages : 297 pages
Suggested Ages: 13 and up
ISBN: 978-0143127550

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng follows a Chinese-American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. The Lees project the image of a perfect, happy family. Marilyn and James Lee have placed all of their hopes and personal aspirations on the shoulders of their middle child, Lydia. But their picture-perfect family facade begins to crumble when Lydia's body is found at the bottom of the lake in their neighborhood. The Lee family is forced to look back and analyze what could have possibly happened. How could their perfect daughter, and beloved sister, be dead? What was she doing in the lake late at night, alone, when she did not know how to swim?


Ng tackles some very heavy subjects in this stunning debut novel. She explores depression, social anxiety, and suicide. Everything I Never Told You has a rich plot that will keep readers glued to the edge of their seats until they reach the last page. Ng has crafted extremely human characters. Each member of the Lee family is incredibly flawed and struggling in his or her own way, and this book delves deeply into the hardships that minorities are forced to face every day in a predominantly white neighborhood. All Lydia's father wants is for her to be the popular kid he could never be growing up, while Lydia's mother, who is Caucasian, never understood the need to fit in, and wants Lydia to excel in school and to one day be a doctor. 

Lydia is not the only one affected by her parents' expectations. Her older brother and younger sister often times end up neglected, lost in the shadow of the star child, Lydia. Her older brother is especially hurt by his parents' special treatment of Lydia, and, even though he knows it isn't her fault, he begins to resent her for it.

Superbly written and an absolutely absorbing read, this is the type of book that will make a non-book lover want to read more books. Perfect for young adults ages 13 and up. 


Reviewed by : Elora Weil

Themes : Family, Depression

If you love this book, then try:

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng


Critics have said

“Wonderfully moving…Emotionally precise…A beautifully crafted study of dysfunction and grief…[This book] will resonate with anyone who has ever had a family drama.” - The Boston Globe