Celeste Ng's (pronounced "ing") debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, begins with the death of 16-year-old Lydia Lee, middle child of Chinese-American James Lee and his Caucasian wife Marilyn, and sister to Nathan and Hannah. As the plot progresses, the author gradually reveals the many factors that contributed to the tragedy; the details of Lydia's life slowly emerge to form a complete picture almost like a Polaroid sharpening from a faded image into a crystal clear photo.
Ostensibly about discovering the circumstances behind the heartbreaking loss of a teenager, the book dives into much more. Ng's themes are complex and densely packed as she explores such subjects as the varied effects of an unexpected death on people; the feeling of being different and alone and how race can contribute to one's sense of isolation; the way parental attitudes and expectations influence ...
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