Check It Out: Everything I Never Told You

Oct 11, 2017

Each year, the American Library Association recognizes 10 outstanding adult books that provide teens with an introduction to adult literature.  Today, I am recommending Everything I Never Told You--the award-winning debut novel by bestselling author Celeste Ng.

This mesmerizing story begins with the drowning death of 16 year-old Lydia Lee--the middle and favorite child of James and Marilyn Lee. One spring morning in 1977, Lydia fails to show up for breakfast.  We know that she has drowned in a nearby lake, but her family doesn’t.

Lydia’s father, James, is an American-born son of Chinese immigrants.  James has a PhD from Harvard, and teaches at a small college in suburban Ohio, but he has always struggled to fit in.  Lydia’s mother Marilyn is from a conservative family in Virginia.   Marilyn disregarded her family’s wishes by marrying James, and gave up her dreams of becoming a doctor when she became a mother to Nath, the oldest of the Lee children.  It is through Lydia that both James and Marilyn hope to see their very different dreams realized.  As the story unfolds, the Lee family begins to unravel in unexpected ways as they realize how very little they knew about Lydia’s life.

The author creates a compelling and moving story in exposing the Lee family’s secrets. Weighted by the issues of race and gender, these explosive truths are slowly exposed through the dynamic of this family’s tragedy.  This emotionally complex novel will have leave you thinking about this family long after the final secrets surface.

Check out Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng and other award-winning author firsts at the Sioux City Public Library.

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Support for Check It Out comes from Avery Brothers.