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  • Everything I Never Told You

  • By: Celeste Ng
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (1,472 ratings)

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Everything I Never Told You cover art

Everything I Never Told You

By: Celeste Ng
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
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Summary

Lydia is the favourite child of Marilyn and James Lee - a girl who inherited her mother's bright-blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair.

Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfil the dreams they were unable to pursue. But Lydia is under pressures that have nothing to do with growing up in 1970s small town Ohio. Her father is an American born of Chinese immigrants and his ethnicity, and hers, make them conspicuous. 

When Lydia's body is found in a lake, James is consumed by guilt and sets out on a reckless path. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to make someone accountable. Lydia's brother, Nathan, is convinced that local bad boy Jack is involved. But it's the youngest in the family - Hannah - who may be the only one who knows what really happened.

©2014 Celeste Ng (P)2014 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"[A] moving tale...of daughters for whom cultural disconnect is but the first challenge." (Vogue)

"The mysterious circumstances of 16-year-old Lydia Lee's tragic death have her loved ones wondering how, exactly, she spent her free time. This ghostly debut novel calls to mind The Lovely Bones." (Marie Claire)

"There is much here that might impress Pulitzer and Man Booker judges." (Mark Lawson, Guardian)

What listeners say about Everything I Never Told You

Average customer ratings
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Overly sentimentalised and SO slow

This novel tells the story of a mixed race marriage in the USA in 60s-70s. The only interesting side to this tale is that we forget, all too quickly, how we have moved to living within ethnically mixed communities. In the USA when this story starts, a mixed marriage was still illegal in some states!
Both parents try to re write their own past shortcoming/ failures by directing their children to succeed, be beautiful and smart and the whole book is a litany of parental mistakes. It is over sentimentalised, overly emotional and really depressing. The tale unravels just too slowly and after 1 hour , I should have sent it back. It was actually really boring!!

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49 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful, wise, engrossing

The blurb on the front, from Marie Claire magazine: "this book calls to mind 'The Lovely Bones'. An unwarranted insult in my opinion; this book is a darn sight better than that one!

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36 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Superb!

A moving, intelligent novel with depth and compassion. I'll miss the characters. It's the type of book that makes you think about your own relationship with your children and ask yourself if you're unconsciously trying to make them fit into a particular mould.

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29 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

I am not sure how I finished this book. The narration was a long continuous whine making even the happy times sound depressing. Very disappointing, would not recommend.

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26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Thought provoking

Not any easy listen in many respects but thought provoking and powerful. Makes you reassess your own family relationships. Only downside was unfortunately I hated the narrator which made it difficult to finish.

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11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Engaging and thought provoking

I found the audiobook well ready and captivating. I thought the story of the family was engaging enough without being truly riveting. It provided food for thought. I found it a good way to pass time.

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10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Heart breaking

This is a story about parents and how their experiences impact on their children.

It took me a while to get into this book so I'd recommend that you persevere with it if you find it a bit slow to start with.
I found it devastating and quite difficult to listen to at times. That says so much about the author's intention though, in my opinion. The tiny glimmers of hope at the end of the book made me sob.
Do listen to 'little fires everywhere' which is equally good.

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8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A smart, sensitive page turner

Not as exquisitely plotted as Little Fires Everywhere (which is the better book) but just as engrossing and sensitively written. Her characters are always believable.

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7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interested throughout, unhappy with the ending.

What did you like best about Everything I Never Told You? What did you like least?

The book certainly held one's attention. The interpretation of the same events by different characters was well done, and by and large the characters were believable, but the Mother's was the least credible I felt. Her dropping of all contact with her mother, complete abandonment of the family and then obsessive focus on just her daughter, made her the source of most of the family's problems; yet nobody appeared to question her or her judgement, and the reader is asked to accept that it was all down to thwarted ambition.

What aspect of Cassandra Campbell’s performance might you have changed?

Her style is very flat and factual, but that probably suited the story.

Any additional comments?

I found the ending rather unsatisfactory. Spoiler alert! - The idea that she didn't intend to commit suicide, but rather thought that she, a non-swimmer, would magically swim to the dock was absurd. Also it it hinted that Nath comes to share his life with Jack - how neat, but implausible.

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7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Sooo boring!!

Bloody Hell this was painful to listen to!
Sooo boring!
Kept listening thinking it would get better.
Felt writer had one hell of a huge chip on her shoulder.
Awful, don’t waste your money or you credits.
Narrator didn’t help, far too ‘breathy’!!

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5 people found this helpful