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Everything I Never Told You

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  463,769 ratings  ·  41,736 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 has bee
Hardcover, 297 pages
Published June 26th 2014 by Penguin Press
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  463,769 ratings  ·  41,736 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
Emily May
Sep 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, modern-lit
“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 bet
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
Jesse (JesseTheReader)
finished this in one sitting! if you need me, i'll be over here bathing in my tears. ...more
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.
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, Lydia. He wants
Jun 04, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a family portrait exploring how race and identity can affect the upbringing of children. The dynamics between the parents and children, and how they become fractured in their attempts (or lack thereof) to understand one another, are the main focus of the story. While I really enjoyed Little Fires Everywhere, I didn’t like this book as much. Besides not finding the characters to be engaging enough to hold my interest, my main gripe is that the messaging is very in-your-face. The char ...more
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
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.

Something to kee
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 longed to fit i
I can't believe it took me this long to read a book by Celeste Ng.

This book, as the saying goes, has EVERYTHING. Mysterious deaths. Family drama. History. Clandestine relationships. Secrets. It's #OwnVoices and it's literary fiction, which have been the two categories I can't get enough of so far this year. It's somehow captivating and unputdownable while being quiet and real.

It is, in short, extremely good and an all around dreamy read to me.

Ms. Ng, I am so sorry that I have wronged you by wa
Ahmad Sharabiani
Everything i never told you, Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng is an American writer and novelist. She has released many short stories that have been published in a variety of literary journals.

Ng's first novel, "Everything I Never Told You", was released on June 26, 2014 and has won many awards such as Amazon Book of the year as well as praise from critics.

Ng's short story "Girls at Play" won a Pushcart Prize in 2012.

On May 3, 1977, Lydia Lee, the middle child of the Lee family is missing. After several
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of the most upsetting novels I've read this year... Ms Ng portrays the Lee family masterfully, leading the reader through the minds and feelings of her characters and their development. It seems there is not a single sentence which is unnecessary. And the narration is exquisite! ...more
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 with it here. Somehow I
"Ability to swim is preservation of life."

These aren't the book's words, they're my sister's words. And they are true words, words I think of every time I swim. I am always reminded a tiny bit of my sister when I swim. You need to know how to swim, it is vital to survival. My grandmother was terrified of swimming, of open water, of pools. She never learned how to swim. But she made all of her six children learn how to swim, she carted them to swimming lessons every week during the summer, and al
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
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 writing style was
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
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 children, Nathan, Lydia and Hannah. James and Marilyn focu
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 d
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 that led up to t
Aug 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
2020 review: Blond Marilyn is married to American-Chinese James Lee, living in small-town Ohio, with their three children, oldest Nathan, almost sixteen Lydia, and the youngest Hannah - I say three children, because they didn't know Lydia was dead yet!

The book captures from the parents first meeting, to the months after Lydia's passing, by moving from each member of the family (including Lydia) as they recollect their connected pasts, the days leading up to Lydia's death and then what follows. I
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 her family do
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 Middlewood Colleg
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Although I enjoyed Celeste Ng's novel, Little Fires Everywhere, I was entranced by this debut novel of hers! Like my Goodreads friend, Nancy, would say, it's a "domestic drama with a touch of mystery".

A strong character-driven novel that revolves around the tragic death of eldest daughter, Lydia, it
recounts feelings and events from the 1950s to the 1970s. Each family members' perceptions are revealed, layer by layer, as the story unfolds, leading up to Lydia's death and beyond.

Parents, James an
Dorie  - Cats&Books :) (on hiatus until Oct 10)
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 something. F
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 d
Elyse  Walters
Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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!!!!!!
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Celeste Ng is the author of three novels, Everything I Never Told You, Little Fires Everywhere, and Our Missing Hearts.

Her first novel, Everything I Never Told You (2014), 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 Massach

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