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Everything I Never Told You
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Everything I Never Told You

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  257,941 ratings  ·  25,548 reviews
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 ha
Hardcover, 292 pages
Published June 26th 2014 by Penguin Press
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  257,941 ratings  ·  25,548 reviews

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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 living in a small town in ohio in the seventies, where such relationships were stil
Emily May
Sep 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: modern-lit, 2015
“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 about... people.

A book that focuses on the dynamics betwee
Jesse (JesseTheReader)
finished this in one sitting! if you need me, i'll be over here bathing in my tears.
Colette Fehr
Jul 01, 2014 rated it liked it
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 relationships in this family are so over the top and one ...more
Jun 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
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't do it. But, man, I hated her overuse of slan
Dec 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 and branches off in so many directions as we follow
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 dreams each had for themselves as well as Lydia a
Angela M
Dec 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 desire to fit in on his middle daughter, Lyd
May 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, emotional
*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 quest for answers in more ways than one.

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 50's, James, was an outsider - he lon
Whitney Atkinson
4.5 Stars

This 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 audiobook for this was great and the writin
Navidad Thélamour
"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 children, Nathan, Lydia and Hannah. James and Marilyn focus all of
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 American Chinese man, James, who marry in the lat
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 the story of the years before, of all th/>
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.

I'm pleased with my decision to put a few weeks of distance between
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2014
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 Chinese professor of history, teaching at Midd
Raeleen Lemay
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction, own
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 to see snapshots of each family membe
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 unappreciated, unloved or pushed to hard to do
Lindsay - Traveling Sister
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“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.”

Houston commercial photography

Hrrrrrrrrm. Good news is, I don’t think it’s necessarily only me this time.

The problem for me with Everything I Never Told You was with the characters. I don’t mind unsympathetic characters and I most certa
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 in other books, I was okay
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 it's about the lives of herself, her parents
4.5 stars

Let 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 at least a month.

Lydia is dead, but
Norma * Traveling Sister
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.

Aug 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommended
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 community and a community that fails to see a family
Diane S ☔
Dec 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 about expectations, about fitting in or
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!!!!!!
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 stomach….knowing where this was going, hoping that it couldn
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My heart may have broken in half while reading this. Incredibly sad, powerful, and beautifully written.
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Celeste Ng is the author of the novel Everything I Never Told You, which was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book of 2014, Amazon’s #1 Best Book of 2014, and named a best book of the year by over a dozen publications. Everything I Never Told You was also the winner of the Massachusetts Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, the ALA’s Alex Award, and the ...more
“Before that she hadn’t realized how fragile happiness was, how if you were careless, you could knock it over and shatter it.” 256 likes
“The things that go unsaid are often the things that eat at you--whether because you didn't get to have your say, or because the other person never got to hear you and really wanted to.” 240 likes
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