Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Review: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Title: Little Fires Everywhere
Author: Celeste Ng
Published: September 2017, Penguin Press
Format: ARC Paperback, 338 pages
Source: Publisher

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned -- from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren -- an enigmatic artist and single mother -- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

My thoughts: This book was one of the books I was looking forward to picking up at BookExpo this past Spring, especially since Celeste Ng was going to be there signing the books. I was thrilled to meet her, however briefly, as I had liked her first book, Everything I Never Told You, and was really looking forward to reading this one. 

One thing that seems to be a common theme in Celeste Ng's books is family dynamics and the disconnects that can happen without you even realizing it. That was certainly apparent in her debut book, and it absolutely plays a part here in her latest book. This is in no way a fast-moving novel, but rather a slow-paced one that explores the intricacies of family life that Celeste portrays in this novel, most notably exploring the mother-daughter relationship.

What I really find fascinating in this novel is just how rich and well-developed the characters are. I felt pulled into the lives of all the characters in this book - they all just felt so real and life-like. There is such a strong feeling of empathy throughout for quite a few of the characters. And they also seem to have an emotional pull to them - whether it be for good or bad...they just get under your skin and you find them in some way relatable.

This is a very compulsive, compelling read and one that sticks with you long after you've finished reading. I can't wait to see what Celeste Ng writes next!


1 comment

  1. I absolutely loved this book. I liked Ng's first novel but I thought this one was just fantastic. One of my favorites of the year for sure.


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