Review: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Everything I Never Told You - Celeste NgPublisher: Penguin Press (June 26th 2014)
Hardcover: 304 pages
Add on: Goodreads
Rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.


This story kind of broke my heart.

If you’re going into this book thinking it’s a murder mystery, get that outta your head now because this not that kind. Instead you get a look into a family’s story, one that seems so normal but than you see all the cracks beneath the surface.

Everything I Never Told You takes a poignant look at race and gender in the 1970’s America and also the complex dynamic of families.  This was definitely an interesting read, the story is told from all the family member’s point of view. Their perspectives very easily slide from one to another so it does require paying some attention too, or you won’t know who’s mind you’re in.

It’s starts with Lydia found dead. But the story jumps around timelines so we see when Marilyn and James were young, we see the the 3 siblings, Nath, Lydia, and Hannah, growing up, we see the story that lead up to Lydia’s death in a way where you can see it all happening in front of you, but there’s no way to stop it.

The title is perfect. The story really does revolve around all the things you never say, how that can affect and change a person’s life, how it can affect another person. And that’s what makes this story so sad. Because things so easily could have been different.

Overall, it’s a beautiful read that can conjure up many feelings. You might want tissues.

He can guess, but he won’t ever know, not really. What it was like, what she was thinking, everything she’d never told him.


Find Celeste Ng:

Website | Goodreads | Twitter

Purchase the book:
Book Depository | Barnes & Nobles | Chapters Indigo |

Author: Cyn

noun. a bum OT, procrastinator. reader. eater. sleeper. music listen-er. movie go-er. Loves food too much.

6 Replies to “Review: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng”

  1. sydneyeditor1 says: Reply

    This sounds heartbreakingly sad and wonderfully powerful, given the look at race in the 1970s. It’s a hard balance I think

  2. This has been on my to read list for a hole. It sounds like an amazing book.

  3. When I read this book, I did enjoy it. However, I think I would have enjoyed it more if I didn’t think it was a murder mystery at first. The premise didn’t really match what happened. Still a good story though. Great review.

  4. Olivia-Savannah says: Reply

    I haven’t really heard too much about this novel before and this is the first time I’m reading a review of it. It’s interesting to know this one is about a family where you can see the cracks shining through. You’ve really made me curious as to how the author can demonstrate that so well with words.

  5. You have me curious Cyn, and I grew up in the 70’s. I might need to grab a box of truffles and try this!

  6. This sounds like a heart breaking read with a lot of feels. It’s interesting how there’s different character perspectives as well. Thanks for the review, Cyn!

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