Everything I Never Told You By Celeste Ng

Everything I Never Told You is my first Celeste Ng novel and it did not disappoint.  SPOILER ALERT: the novel revolves around the death of a teenager and might be too overwhelming for some to read.  While the death of Lydia is front and center, Ng treads lightly on that topic but goes deep into family relationships and how things are not always as they seem – not only to outsiders, but to family members as well.

As the story unfolds around Lydia’s death, Ng explores the relationships among the three children, between Lydia’s parents, and even touches upon the relationship between Lydia’s mother and Lydia’s grandmother.  Ng is masterful at subtly weaving complexity into the narrative -- an interracial marriage (Lydia’s father is Asian, and her mother is Caucasian), living in a small town in Ohio in the 1970s, and losing your identity when you fail to follow your dream.

Reading this book will cause any parent to pause and wonder, “Is my child really doing okay?” and to question, whether as a parent, they have missed some important signal that shows a crack in the facade.  The book is a smooth read and as much as the reader wants to know what happens, you won’t feel like you need to rush to get through it, rather you’ll be comfortable simply letting the story unfold in its own timeframe.  While I was not quite sure I wanted to read this book in the midst of all the current strife in the United States, I am glad I did because I took a minute to pause and be thankful for all I have.