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Summer Book Club: "Everything I Never Told You"

Join the Living Book Club this season as we tackle our summer reading list. This week we're digging into "Everything I Never Told You" by Celeste Ng.

Assistant Managing Editor
Photography by: Bryan Gardner

It's really hard to play favorites with our summer reading selects this year, as we chose every book on our list for different reasons, and with different readers in mind. But Celeste Ng's debut novel, "Everything I Never Told You," is most definitely at the top of this editor's list.


Masterfully written (I almost couldn't believe this was Ng's first book), this book captures you from the first sentence and keeps your rapt attention until the very end. We wouldn't say this book is for the faint of heart, but if you're in the market for a family drama and excellent prose, it's well worth the effort. 

From the Publisher:

"Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet ..." So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee -- their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue -- in Marilyn’s case, that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, and in James’s case, that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.


When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia’s older brother, Nathan, is certain that the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it’s the youngest of the family -- Hannah -- who observes far more than anyone realizes, and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened.


A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, "Everything I Never Told You" is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family, and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.


Some lighter fare is coming up on our reading list, so keep checking back in! Let us know what you're reading as you make your way through the season.