I typically have no idea what’s going on in publishing. I don’t know who gets big advances or whose cover art is the coolest or why they change the cover art when they go from hardcover to paperback or from North America to Europe. Luckily, from time to time, someone throws me a bone. I remember hearing all about how amazing Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng was so I was really excited when the publisher contacted me about the paperback release and offered me a copy. A real live book and not a digital copy. Who’d have thunk it? *I received a complimentary paperback copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. The following review will express my honest opinion even though I got something for free. My integrity costs more than a paperback, swearsies.*
Lydia Lee is the teenage daughter of a Chinese American History professor and a caucasian homemaker in 1970s small town Ohio. She’s also dead, which you find out in the first sentence, so that’s not a spoiler at all. Lydia was the favorite child of James and Marilyn, each attempting to live out their dreams vicariously through their daughter. When Lydia’s body is discovered at the bottom of a lake, the Lee family is shattered. Their delicate dynamics are toppled and they are left reeling.
I know, I know. When you start off with a dead teenager it sounds like the book is going to be a total downer. Go beyond the first few pages, however, and you will be drawn into a beautifully rendered complex family. Marilyn and James along with their two other children Nath and Hannah each have their own experiences with Lydia that allow the reader a multifaceted view of the enigmatic central character. I know, I know. This review starting to sound like a lame school assigned book review. The book is really fabulous, though, and I can’t find Katie-ish words to describe it. Readers who enjoyed The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold will dig Everything I Never Told You. Trust me on this, okay?
Talk to me Bookworms! Lydia Lee is the type of character that everyone in her family thinks they understand, but nobody truly does. Have you ever felt that people just didn’t get you? I mean, beyond your teen angst years. Because let’s face it. You didn’t know you yet either and that’s a terribly unfair double standard.
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