Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Everything I Never Told You

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chao...

Details Everything I Never Told You

TitleEverything I Never Told You
Release DateJun 26th, 2014
PublisherPenguin Press
Number of pages304 pages
GenreAudiobook, Contemporary, Young Adult

Reviews Everything I Never Told You

  • Emily May
    “Before that she hadn’t realized how fragile happiness was, how if you were careless, you could knock it over and shatter it.” This book is a fantastic character portrait. I don't read these kinds of stories too often - family dramas with a focus on the everyday - but when I do I'm usually pleasantly surprised. As much as I'm a lover of amazing story arcs with problems and terrifying consequences, there really is something so fascinating ab...
  • karen
    this book is absolutely perfect.it's easily one of the best contemporary family dramas i have ever read, and i have read more than a few.ng's prose is outstanding, and her characters are vibrant, completely three-dimensional, and the way their stories knot up in each other is superb.it opens with the death of sixteen-year-old lydia, the beloved middle child of marilyn and james lee. marilyn and james are a mixed-race chinese/caucasian couple livi...
  • Regan
    I received this book for review from Penguin Boy oh boy was I impressed by this book. Before I started reading it I was expecting something Lovely Bones esc. No. So much better. This story is kicks off with the reader finding out about the death of the "favorite child" Lydia, with this I assumed it would just be an emotional book about finding the cause of death ect ect. Nope. But also yes. This book's scope is beyond what I was first expecting a...
  • Colette Fehr
    Hmmmm.... Quintessential MFA graduate writing, which is to say lyrical creative prose that captures emotion in the details, following the MFA formula of "show; don't tell," to provide character exposition. The author shows us the interiority of her characters brilliantly- and then goes on to slam us over the head with explicit "telling" as if we're complete morons who can't figure it out for ourselves. Furthermore the themes that guide the relati...
  • Angela M
    I did not enjoy reading this book. The story of this broken family was just so sad and I found that the more I read, the harder it was to read. I felt a constant knot in my stomach .Yet I gave it four stars.It’s the 1970's and James of Chinese descent, born in the U.S has since he was a young boy, just wanted to fit in. The racism he experiences through his life follows to present day and to his mixed race children. He focuses his need and desi...
  • Roxane
    Gorgeously written. Really subtle storytelling but the tension built in a really excruciating, smart way that kept me holding my breath. I also love how Ng approached writing the challenges of identity and difference for both women and people of color, as well as how much the burden of expectations can truly weigh.
  • Susanne Strong
    5 Stars.Have you ever felt invisible? Like you were hiding in plain sight? Or like you just didn't measure up? Like you have to fake it till you make it? For the Lee family, this is par for the course, for each member of the family has felt one or more of these things at one time in their lives, if not for their entire lives. James and Marilyn Lee are a Chinese-American couple with three children, Nath, Lydia and Hannah. Growing up Chinese in the...
  • Greg
    Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet.The blue-eyed 16 year old daughter of an Asian father and a Caucasian has died in the spring of 1977, the year that the summer will be punctuated with gun shots from the Son of Sam. Lydia goes to bed the night before she dies like it's any other night. In the morning she is gone. A couple of days later her body is found in the middle of a lake. This book is about how and why she died. But more than that...
  • Dem
    Everything I never told you is the debut novel by Celeste Ng and tells a powerful and yet quiet stroy about the Lee family who are coming to terms with losing their teenage daughter. The story is beautifully told and the prose has an eloquence to it that you only come across once in awhile in novels.This is not only the story of a Chinese-American family losing a teenage daughter, it is a story of racism, of a family trying to fit into a communit...
  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ “They will dissect this last evening for years to come. What had they missed that they should have seen? What small gesture, forgotten, might have changed everything? They will pick it down to the bones, wondering how this had all gone so wrong, and they will never be sure.” Hrrrrrrrrm. Good news is, I don’t think it’s necessarily only me this time. The problem for me with Eve...
  • Lindsay
    3.5 stars - what an intense, dark, thought-provoking book. This will stay on my mind for a long time. I feel a mixture of emotions after finishing this. The telling of the story and writing was excellent. The story itself was very intriguing, but very sad.My heart broke for the children in the Lee family. What started out as a 'forbidden' love story between Marilyn and James, ended with a death due to unrealistic expectations pushed too far on a ...
  • Diane S ☔
    From the opening sentence, I could tell this was going to be a somewhat difficult read. In the fifties, mixed marriages were frowned on, not just black and white, but in this case Chinese and white. Marilyn had long wanted to be a doctor at a time when woman were expect4d to marry, keep house, have children and not much else. Then she meets James, A Chinese professor and finds out she is having his child, her plans change and they marry.A story a...
  • Dianne
    Gorgeous, tenderly rendered story about a family tragedy with deep roots.The book’s opening is austere: “Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet. 1977, May 3, six thirty in the morning, no one knows anything but this innocuous fact: Lydia is late for breakfast.” From the bare bones of that terrible fact, the story blooms, tendril after tendril, the past entwining the present and reaching into the future.James Lee is an American-born C...
  • Thomas
    4.5 starsLet me tell you: Everything I Never Told You belongs on my imaginary "omg-omg-omg" shelf. Some books spin me into a hazy trance, while others wrap up my attention with such ferocity that I have no choice but to whisper-scream "omg-omg-omg" as I read them. Celeste Ng's sharp storytelling, three-dimensional characters, and incisive writing all made me say "omg-omg-omg" over and over throughout her debut novel, something I have not done for...
  • Justin
    The first chapter was great. I was expecting an exciting mystery/thriller. I was anxious to find out how Lydia disappeared. Then, the rest of the book happened.I hated all of the characters. I hated the perfectly executed sentences. I hated the story. I hated the ending. Oh, and I really hated how half of the book was written in italics. I would usually insert something sarcastic or witty here about the use of italics in the book, but I just can'...
  • Rebbie
    This book is too much for me to deal with right now. Right book, wrong timing. Some people might think the writing is a little hammy or overly done, but my biggest issue is my lack of attachment to the characters in the face of such serious issues. It's definitely a dark book, which proved to be more than I can handle emotionally at the moment, so about halfway through I started skimming to the end. I wasn't surprised by the ending, so I obviousl...
  • Cathrine ☯
    5★There is an empty boat loosed from it's mooring and Lydia Lee is missing. “People decide what you’re like before they even get to know you. They think they know all about you. Except you’re never who they think you are.”Oh my, such exquisite writing and storytelling.Each paragraph like a knot on a silken cord leading you in the darkness of a maze twisting with family secrets, lies, and heartbreak. I started reading and could not stop....
  • Norma
    This was a really frustrating, sad, and uncomfortable read for me and wish that I could have felt more of a connection with these characters. I almost didn't finish listening to this and thought I would probably have enjoyed it much more if I read the print copy of this book instead. The characters mostly came across as angry, disrespectful, and rude which made it really hard for me to empathize with these characters and the story.
  • Kate (GirlReading)
    This was by no means a light hearted read. It was heartbreaking, heavy and at times, incredible difficult and painful to read but it was also fantastic. So much was dealt with in this book and even after finishing it, I feel as though I'm continuing to pick up on even more each time I think about it. The insight into life in 50's-70's America for POC (specifically Lydia's family in which their father was Chinese having moved to American and they ...
  • switterbug (Betsey)
    The first two lines of the novel:“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know that yet.”Is this the beginning of a great story, or just a gimmicky hook? If you are looking for a suspense or crime thriller, you will be largely disappointed. This is a domestic drama about a Chinese-American man (born in the US), James Lee, his blonde, Caucasian wife, Marilyn, and their three children. Lydia, just sixteen, is the middle child, the one that they have pr...
  • Carol
    First off, this is not a feel-good story, but it certainly does pack a punch.....to the gut. In fact, it made me sad and mad simultaneously.James and Marilyn.....both self-absorbed parents......force their own lost hopes and dreams in life upon their poor children (particularly their favorite Lydia) that more often than not causes jealousy and makes all three miserable to boot.As a mixed-race family in the 1970's, their struggles of dealing with ...
  • Chantal (Every Word A Doorway)
    You can also read my full review here!This book opens with the line: Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.Everything I Never Told You is a story about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. At the beginning of the book, the favourite daughter of the Lee family, Lydia, goes missing and turns up dead in a lake. From this synopsis it may sound like a mystery suspense or an investigative novel but that really isn’t the ...
  • Elyse
    Absolutely exquisite writing. Lyrical! Luminous! Gorgeous! Elegant! A book full of deep feeling!!! Page after page after page!!!!!We are reminded that it can take decades to comprehend the past, let alone make amends with it. Unsentimental ....yet a brave-bold-heart-baring story. "Everything I Never Told You" is one of the best books I've read this year!!!!!!
  • Debbie
    Well, what to say. I liked where the book was going. The experience of a Chinese American who marries a white woman in the 70's. There were a lot of interesting issues brought to the surface, such as the children's bi-racial experience, the wife who had dreams outside the home, and put those dreams on to her oldest daughter. The husband who has always felt different, and takes out his frustration in unexpected ways. When tragedy strikes, so many ...
  • Eve
    “How had it begun? Like everything: with mothers and fathers. Because of Lydia’s mother and father, because of her mother’s and father’s mothers and fathers.” Wow! Days after finishing this novel, I can't stop thinking about the Lee family. I had no idea what it would be about except that it had received a lot of positive nods in a range of reading circles. I also find it hard to believe that this is Ms. Ng's debut novel. She has a love...
  • Lotte
    Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet....and the award for best first sentence goes to... (you guessed it) Everything I Never Told You!This sentence had me hooked. Honestly, I think it's absolutely brilliant. And yeah, the rest of the book didn't disappoint either :DEverything I Never Told You is a story about the repercussions of the death of Lydia, the middle child in the Lee family, whose story unfolds in flashbacks and in the present da...
  • Yasmin
    Lovely beginning, with a few memorable quotes.And then... I am not sure what happened?!It turned out to have some terribly unconvincing developments to the characters and to the events with a really silly twist towards the ending.
  • Joce (squibblesreads)
    Full video review here! I read this book twice back-to-back. Books like Everything I Never Told You are why I read. I saw myself multiple times in the characters' struggles and beliefs. Celeste Ng has changed my life with this novel, and I'm so happy that it exists.
  • Jessica
    The “family dealing with the loss of a child” story has been done before. It’s been done from the parents’ perspective, from the surviving sibling’s perspective, from heaven. It’s been done in modern day, and all decades of near and distant past. It's been done across dozens of different cultural settings. Families have stayed together, they’ve broken up, they’ve lashed out, and they've disintegrated. So I initially came to Celest...
  • Navidad Thelamour
    "How suffocating it is to be loved that much." Everything I Never Told You centers around the Lee family: James, the Chinese-American professor who lectures on the epitome of what was never attainable for him—true Americanism, Marilyn, the blond wife who’d always dreamed of being a doctor when female doctors were a rare phenomenon only to turn out just what her mother had hoped and what Marilyn had always wished to avoid, and their three chil...