Celeste Ng’s debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, was just not for me. I can’t say that I absolutely hated this work of fiction, but I most definitely didn’t love it. I guess you could say that I tolerated the 297 pages that was Everything I Never Told You. Written in third-person, Ng’s novel centers around the Lee family, who have just lost beloved daughter and sister, Lydia. Flipping from past to present, Everything I Never Told You takes perspective from each of the Lee family members and even the late Lydia herself. I think the reason I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I had imagined I would is mostly because of how the story was written. I’ve discovered I’m not a fan of third-person writing. I did not like the feeling that I was reading well, a story the entire time. I think that maybe if Everything I Never Told You was written more like the novels I’m used to, then maybe I wouldn’t have had to suffer through it.
However. Not everything about Ng’s debut novel was disappointing for me. The plot was extremely engaging for me. Which is why I was determined to read it in the first place. I was honestly curious to why this young girl was found dead in a local lake. In the end, I did see the “why” coming. How can you not when her parents actions are so demanding? Anyway, without giving any spoilers, that is another reason why I disliked this book. Lydia’s parents drove me absolutely crazy!
Even though I did not think highly of Everything I Never Told You for the most part, I did rate it with 4 stars on Goodreads (rounding up from 3.5). The end of the novel really got to me. Reminding her readers that family comes first and foremost and that those around you are what truly matter , Ng ended her book with an endearing message that gives me hope for her future writings.