Published by Penguin Press on June 26, 2014
Genres/Lists: #30Authors, Diverse, Fiction
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I received this book for free from Edelweiss.
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One of three children born to interracial parents, Lydia was clearly the favorite. She was obedient, disciplined, talented, and never caused her parents to worry. When she goes missing and is subsequently found dead, it goes without saying that her parents were truly shocked. It is upon her disappearance that Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng begins, and what follows is a stunning portrait of family obligation, sibling rivalry, marriage, growing up, and societal norms.
In the wake of Lydia’s death, each member of her family copes differently. Her mom laments the loss of Lydia’s future while regretting her own decisions, her dad seeks solace in unlikely places, and her brother struggles with what he knows about the neighborhood bad boy. Only Lydia’s younger sister has the presence of mind to see the facts for what they really are, but her role in the family prevents her from being outspoken about it. As each member of the family orbits around each other (and not discussing what they know), they give the reader a glimpse into a life that is less picture-perfect than it seems at first.
Although Everything I Never Told You is centered around Lydia’s death, it is ultimately a complex story that incorporates racial tensions, academic pressures, and a precarious family dynamic based on regret and hope. Each family member is harboring secrets and battling inner demons, culminating in a story that is both poignant and realistic. If you’re looking for a book that could easily mirror reality in the late 1970’s, then this is the one for you.