Everything I Never Told You

A fantastic read that takes you on an emotional roller coaster, Everything I Never Told You is one part thriller, one part human study.


  • Enjoy character studies
  • Are in the mood for a thriller
  • Want an emotional read

TitleEverything I Never Told You Author: Celeste Ng | Rating: 3.5/5

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

The book begins tense and doesn’t let up. Lydia is the perfect (or so her parents think) middle child who is found drowned in a lake near her home. Her mother is convinced she’s been murdered, her brother thinks he knows who’s did it, and the police have ruled Lydia’s death a suicide.

On goes the story, with her parents’ marriage crumbling, her brother angry and aggressive, and her younger sister quiet and sullen. Everything I Never Told You explores being Asian-American at a time when being “ching” was considered inferior.

Secrets and lies develop between the family members as resentment grows. The story blooms into a study of racism, infidelity, and insecurity. Heart-wrenching, I couldn’t imagine the pain the characters held after losing Lydia, or the suffering racism and ethnocentrism lays on those who are on the receiving end.

“How suffocating it is to be loved that much.”

What I loved was Lydia’s view interwoven through the story. How she felt weighed down by her parents’ expectations of her, how being their “golden child” meant she felt suffocated by them. Lydia was the “smart one,” who could do no wrong, and would become the doctor her mother never became. Meanwhile, her brother, who’s been accepted to Harvard, is somewhat ignored by their parents, and her sister is near invisible to her family, an afterthought.

And the story was also a character study of women who feel trapped by and dissatisfied with their lives. Lydia’s mother, Marilyn, was a white, smart, driven woman with a bright future. She marries an American Chinese man, James, in the 1950s, when doing so was rare and considered the wrong thing to do.

The theme of racism on James’ side was touched was a major vein throughout the story, but Marilyn’s circumstances I found more appealing. Something about a bright woman, trapped by a marriage and family, creates a read far deeper than it seem to be on the surface.

A fantastic read that takes you on an emotional roller coaster, Everything I Never Told You is one part thriller, one part human study.

2 thoughts on “Everything I Never Told You

  1. dinipandareads says:

    Great review! I got this book after reading Little Fires Everywhere (and enjoying it) and I’ve heard some pretty great things about it. Sounds like an interesting character driven story with a bit of mystery? Hope to check it out this year!

    Liked by 1 person

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