EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU by Celeste Ng

“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” This is the first line of Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng’s debut novel. It’s May 1977 in small-town Ohio and James, a Chinese-American professor, and Marilyn, a white housewife, are going about their married morning. Blue-eyed, dark-haired Lydia Lee is the middle child and their favorite. Her younger sister Hannah is the first to comment on Lydia’s absence, and it descends into horror from there. Lydia’s body is found soon after; apparently she drowned in the lake near their house. The Lees’ lives detonate, of course, but this story is far from your typical “lost child” tale. How each person in Lydia’s life absorbs the reality of her death is only a fraction of the narrative, which is why I fell in love with it. Everything I Never Told You is subtly exquisite.

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