My expectations were so low with this one because it was hyped, and they really needn’t have been. Everything I Never Told You is a lovely, albeit super sad, portrayal of a family in the aftermath of tragedy.
When 16-year-old Lydia disappears one night without warning and fails to return, the family she left behind tumbles into chaos. Did she run away? Is it a murder? Throughout the novel, the family searches for hints in their personal histories, for any indication of where the beloved — the favorite — child in the family has gone and how she ended up there.
Lydia is the undeniably beautiful, talented, and intelligent one. Nothing like this was supposed to happen to her. But the longer Lydia is missing, the more Ng unveils about the complicated dynamic within the household, the impossible standards Lydia has been held to. She is a coin, reflecting each of her adoring parents’ faces (she gets her dark hair and almond-shaped eyes from her dad, and her blue irises and slender frame from her mom). We begin to see the desperate strain connecting her to her envious siblings, her soon-to-be-Harvard-boy older brother and her all but invisible little sis, and the loneliness eating away within.
Ng proves herself a masterful writer, the beautiful language trickles down the page, pulling imagery that at times left me breathless. I found myself returning to passages, turning the words over in my mind just one more time.
So yeah, this novel is highly recommended.
Book: Everything I Never Told You
Author: Celeste Ng
Type: Literary fiction under thin veil of murder mystery
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