Celeste Ng's novel Everything I Never Told You was nearly impossible to put down.
From the beginning line, "Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet," we are introduced to the Lee family, living in the 1970s in Ohio.
Lydia's death is devastating to her parents, and as they are left to cope with their grief, they are shocked to learn who their daughter really was. The brainy girl with friends covered up her failing grades, and never acknowledged the fact that there were no friends at all.
Ng explores the Lee family, starting from revealing more about Lydia's parents, James and Marilyn. Their past is an important part of how Lydia has turned out. Marilyn's dream was to become a doctor, something unheard of for women of that era. James, as a Chinese American, was snubbed by nearly everyone, and despite his intelligence found it difficult to find work in academia.
Their own failures are part of what makes Lydia who she is.
Although we know Lydia has died, it is unclear if her death was an accident, or suicide. Through Ng's novel we are given more information about Lydia, allowing us to really know her and understand her.
Everything I Never Told You had me hooked from the very first page. Ng's characters are human, and I was pulled into their lives, irritated with them at times, angry at other, but ultimately, wanting them to find happiness together.
I'm not in love with the cover, so I hope those readers who do judge a book by it's cover will still give this one a chance. Ng's novel is worth every minute.