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
GenreFiction, Mystery, Contemporary, Historical, Historical Fiction, Audiobook, Adult, Adult Fiction, Literary Fiction, Family, Book Club

Reviews Everything I Never Told You

  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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'...
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Zoë
    What a wonderful book to start off the new year! This has been on my shelf for years, and I'm kicking myself for not picking it up sooner.This story starts with a small seed - Lydia Lee is dead - and blossoms in every direction. Through non-linear perspective shifts, each member of Lydia's family deals with their grief in different ways, reflecting on their lives and filling us in on more of the mystery. We come to understand the expectations and...
  • Melissa
    *3.5 stars*There’s a quiet and almost simple beauty to Celeste Ng’s storytelling. She’s not a writer that relies on a breakneck pace or frilly overtures to capture readers. Instead, Ng employs the emotional beings that live among her pages and their relatable family dynamics to do the job. Each character takes a turn tiptoeing into the room, catching the reader almost unaware, and inciting a level of curiosity. Curiosity that morphs into a ...
  • 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...
  • Whitney Atkinson
    4.5 StarsThis book offers one of the coolest family/character explorations I've ever read. I love books that dive into characters' morally grey area, and this was especially interesting because each character's perspective on their family member's death was so distinct. I felt for every character on the page and there was never a dull moment. This was really masterfully made and well fleshed out, and it was as gorgeous as it was tragic. The audio...
  • Felice Laverne
    "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 chi...
  • Julie
    Everything I Knew Told Your by Celeste Ng is a 2015 Penguin Books publication. As I began this book, my mind was a clean slate, with absolutely no preconceived ideas about it, so I was really surprised by it, and stunned by my emotional response to it. Once I started it, I literally did not move from the couch until I had turned the last page. One of the main topics addressed here is the interracial marriage between a white woman, Marilyn, and an...
  • Cheri
    4.5 Stars ”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.” This is how the book begins. They hit like a punch, knocking the wind out of you, these first sentences. And yet, while this part of the story runs throughout these pages, each person viewing the circumstances that led to her death in their own, inimitable way, this is ...
  • Nat
    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...
  • 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...
  • Raeleen Lemay
    WHAT A GREAT BOOK. I'm mad at myself for waiting so long to pick this up, and I sort of wish I'd read my physical copy rather than listening to the audiobook, but whatever. It was still really great! This is the type of book I feel would be more enjoyable on the page than on audio, but with that being said the audiobook was well done.This is the story of a dysfunctional family dealing with the death of 16-year-old Lydia, the middle child. You get...
  • Dorie - Cats&Books :)
    I listened to this book on audio and this is my first 5 star book of the year although it was written in 2014. I have since read Little Fires Everywhere by this author which I loved. I usually write short reviews on audiobooks but this book deserves more.It’s been a long time since I have had such a visceral reaction to a book. After I finished I had a terrible urge to call each of my four daughters and ask them if I ever made them feel unappre...
  • Lindsay - Traveling Sister
    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 ...
  • 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...
  • Matthew
    This is a dark drama. I did not find much hope in the story. Maybe others will disagree, but it is a fairly depressing story.It was still a good book, even if my mood grew darker as the story went along. I think that the overall story was interesting and the relationships in the story are written well. Also, the development along the way is fascinating even if gloomy.There is a lot of poorly defined time jumping, but, while that has bothered me i...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Norma * Traveling Sister ~ Semi-hiatus for now until I fully get my reading/reviewing hat on! 😂 I’m almost there! 💕
    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.
  • 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...
  • Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
    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!!!!!!
  • 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...
  • jv poore
    Everything I Never Told You is the Faberge Egg of literature. As a whole it is breathtakingly beautiful. Viewing details closely and from different perspectives; unique gems are revealed. While stunning unto themselves; they become totally transformed when part of the whole. This is the most heart-breaking book I’ve ever read. Actually painful. As the gloss wears down, and the truth trickles out, the ache began…gnawing in the pit of my stomac...
  • Katie
    My heart may have broken in half while reading this. Incredibly sad, powerful, and beautifully written. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHJeT...