A story that has been told a dozen times before:
A perfect daughter dies under tragic circumstances. Her family reels with shock, and then struggles to pick up the pieces.
The premise of Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng may seem simple – familiar, even – but this story is far from what you’d expect.
Set in a small town in Ohio in the 1970s, Everything I Never Told You follows the Chinese-American Lee family. James Lee is a Chinese man working as a college professor (of history, specifically westerns and cowboys); his wife, Marilyn, is a white woman whose dreams of becoming a doctor were swept under the rug with the birth of her first child.
The three Lee children are Lydia, an overachieving, straight-A, student with many friends; Nathan, an equally-intelligent loner overshadowed by his sister; and Hannah, a quiet younger child who craves attention from her family.
When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed. Old wounds are reopened. Crushed dreams are realized. Allegiances are questioned.
Word gets out that Lydia may not have been the popular girl her family thought her to be. While Nath and even Hannah begin to investigate the person that was their sister, Lydia’s parents refuse to listen and cope with their grief in vastly different ways.
“The things that go unsaid are often the things that eat at you–whether because you didn’t get to have your say, or because the other person never got to hear you and really wanted to.”
Everything I Never Told You is a haunting debut from an author who understands the nuances of relationships and renders them both painfully, and beautifully, on the page.
You may think you’ve read this story before, but this debut is all new.