Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng


I honestly can't say why I waited two years to pick this book up. I remember when it was first published, I thought, "That sounds really interesting. I should read that." And then when the entire internet exploded with love for this book, I said, "Yeah, I should definitely read that." Yet, somehow, it didn't happen for over two years, and now that I have finally read it, I have some feelings. 

First things first, here's a quick description:

"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 chaos. 

A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another."

The first line of this book was eye catching, but immediately left me feeling wary. I've read a lot of books where a main character's death is announced in the first sentence, and honestly, it typically doesn't do it for me. I find that it can often take away a lot of tension from the story. However, Everything I Never Told You surprised me, and I think the main reason for this is that the story was never centered on Lydia's death. It wasn't a family mourning her loss and trying to move on without her, but rather a family trying to come to terms with her life. A life that, after her death, they realized they knew very little about. Also, the story changes time periods and perspectives, and gives you a deep, introspective look into each character's point of view and life. Often, there was so much going on in the story that I could almost forget Lydia had died at all, which, as strange as that sounds, is very high praise. 

Now, while I loved the beautiful writing and the fully fleshed out characters and familial relationships, there were still times when I wanted a little less narration and a bit more plot. A few areas dragged a bit for me. However, all in all, this was a great book and one I would highly recommend. 

Have you read Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng? Thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Reading,