[REVIEW] Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng @PenguinPress

I remember back in March when I saw Little Fires Everywhere on Edelweiss that I had to request it because I love Celeste Ng’s writing and storytelling. It took me some time to get to this book because of other ones on my TBR pile but I am so glad I read it. From wonderful writing to well-crafted characters this book has got it all.

“It came, over and over, down to this: What made someone a mother? Was it biology alone, or was it love?”

Little Fires Everywhere is set in a Cleveland suburb called Shaker Heights where everything is the way it should be. The people living in the suburb follow certain rules which make their lives more enjoyable and Shaker Heights the best place to live in. In this place we meet the Richardson family – from the parents Elena and Bill to their four children Lexie, Izzy, Trip and Moody. The Richardson’s are a wealthy family with successful and smart children as well as hard-working and loving parents. Bill is a lawyer and Elena is a reporter. A new family arrives in Shaker Heights – the Warrens – a mother and a daughter called Mia and Pearl. Mia is an artist/photographer and a single mother who came to the suburb for a fresh start and all she wants is to make her daughter’s life better– but Mia has something to hide. In this idyllic place the two families become closer with Pearl practically living with the Richardson family. The two women become close too with Elena Richardson hiring Mia Warren in order to help her out with money. This closeness makes an impact on the family dynamics too – Pearl becomes fascinated by Elena Richardson and Izzy becomes interested in finding out more about Mia Warren and her art. Everything changes when family friends of the Richardson’s try to adopt a Chinese-American baby named Mirabelle – this event puts everyone in a dangerous position and on opposite sides – particularly Elena and Mia. As Elena’s suspicions about Mia arise she becomes determined to find out more about her mysterious new friend. Will she be able to discover more about Mia and find out the truth behind her actions and if so at what cost?

Congratulations, you have survived reading my terrible summary of this book. Trust me, there’s so much more to it and I kept it vague. Celeste Ng is one of those authors you adore reading because of their excellent story-telling. I previously read her debut Everything I Never Told You so I was very excited to jump back into Ng’s world. Little Fires Everywhere wasn’t exactly what I was expecting it to be but it was very very good because the moment you read the first 50 pages you fall in love with the writing and get sucked into the story. It amazes me how with just a few words Celeste Ng can create such powerful emotions and bring her characters to life. As you already know there are many characters in this book – Elena, Mia, Trip, Moody, Pearl etc. – and what Ng does is make them come alive with giving depth to each of them. There are a lot of happenings in this book and I would suggest not looking at too many reviews and just going in because you’ll appreciate it more. My issues with this book weren’t much about the writing as you can tell but with the story because it didn’t exactly wow me even though it was very interesting and important. I think that many people will appreciate and enjoy this book. Her debut Everything I Never Told You still holds a number one spot for me because I can still remember reading it and completely loving it. It was so lovely being back in Ng’s world.

Do I recommend Little Fires Everywhere? YES, definitely. I think that everyone should read this book as well as her debut because she’s such a talented writer who’ll make you experience many emotions with her powerful words.

I would like to thank Edelweiss and the publisher (Penguin Press) for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: 

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Celeste Ng is the author of the novel Everything I Never Told You, which was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book of 2014, Amazon’s #1 Best Book of 2014, and named a best book of the year by over a dozen publications. Everything I Never Told You was also the winner of the Massachusetts Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, the ALA’s Alex Award, and the Medici Book Club Prize, and was a finalist for numerous awards, including the Ohioana Award, the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award, and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award…more.

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[REVIEW] Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

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Spoiler-free review:

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

As the synopsis says, the story follows the Lee family who are grieving over the loss of a daughter/sister. We have: Lydia – who was found dead in a lake, Hannah – the youngest daughter of the Lee family, Nathan/Nath – who is the only son, Marilyn and James Lee.

Their family is a mixed race family and the story goes back to past and present. To the struggles of not being white and more. Each member of the family is deeply saddened about Lydia’s death. The characters are really well thought of. For example, we have Marilyn who is the mother of the three children. Her mother had always told her that a woman should cook, bake and take care of the children but Marilyn didn’t like her view of living a life. Marilyn wanted to become a doctor, to be something more than just a house-wife. Now I know that I said that this will be a spoiler-free review, so this may be a tiny spoiler. If you want to know the reason why Lydia is the favourite child look at the spoiler: [The reason why Lydia is Marilyn’s favourite child is because she didn’t succeed in her goal. When she left the family to continue her studies she was happy but the she started missing her family. When she found out that she was pregnant with the third child – Hannah, she had to get back to her family. Lydia promised if her mother gets back she will do whatever she says. Lydia wanted to please her mother so she began to read books about biology, to play doctor, to do math with her mother who ignored Nath.] How Ng wrote thorough characters, in my opinion, is really smart.

,,They never discussed it, but both came to understand it as a promise: he would always make sure there was a place for her. She would always be able to say, Someone is coming. I am not alone.”

This is a story about family, jealousy and life of a mixed race household in the 70’s. I couldn’t put this novel down. Even when I made breaks from reading I always thought about the characters and what will happen next. Now, I could talk about this book more but it would get spoilery so I won’t say more except for this:

This novel is very complex and smartly written. I loved and felt for all of the characters in the novel. Each and every one of them had layers and their own personality.

I would definitely recommend this book to people who enjoy Adult/Mystery genre.

My rating for this novel is: