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0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Celeste Ng Narrator: Cassandra Campbell Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A haunting debut novel about a mixed-race family living in 1970s Ohio and the tragedy that will either be their undoing or their salvation

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

So begins the story in this exquisite debut novel about a Chinese American family living in a small town in 1970s Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue—in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’ case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.

When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia’s older brother, Nathan, is certain the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it’s the youngest of the family, Hannah, who observes far more than anyone realizes—and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened.

A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “I couldn’t stop reading Everything I Never Told You…The writing is so smooth and keenly observed. The portrait of each member of the Lee family, the exploration of their mixed-race issues, and the search for the killer of their sister and daughter, Lydia, pulled at my heartstrings to the very end.”

    Uwem Akpan, author of Say You’re One of Them

  • Everything I Never Told You is a suspenseful and emotionally complex literary mystery novel which, weaving back and forth in time, unlocks the secrets beneath the surface of family life. Celeste Ng has written a compellingly tense and moving first book.”

    Dan Chaon, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Ng tells a story weighted by death and grief that is vital in all the essential ways; these characters betray and love blindly and are needy and accuse and forgive. They are achingly human, and Ng’s writing about them is tender and merciless all at once. At the same time, her story is also about what it means to live in two worlds at the same time, to be Asian and American, an insider and an outsider, and Ng writes about all this and more with terrific nuance.”

    Jesmyn Ward, National Book Award–winning author

  • “A brilliantly written, surprisingly uplifting exploration of striving in the face of alienation and of the secrets we keep from others. This could be my favorite novel of the year.”


  • “Both a propulsive mystery and a profound examination of a mixed-race family…[an] explosive debut.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “A deep, heartfelt portrait of a family struggling with its place in history and a young woman hoping to be the fulfillment of that struggle. This is, in the end, a novel about the burden of being the first of your kind—a burden you do not always survive.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “The mysterious circumstances of sixteen-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

  • “A powerhouse of a debut novel, a literary mystery crafted out of shimmering prose and precise, painful observation about racial barriers, the burden of familial expectations, and the basic human thirst for belonging…Ng’s novel grips readers from page one with the hope of unraveling the mystery behind Lydia’s death—and boy does it deliver, on every front.”

    Huffington Post

  • “Ng’s story, set in an Ohio college town in the 1970s, begins with a missing high-school girl…As premises go, the missing-girl device is shopworn, but Ng uses her death to crack open the unexamined undercurrents in the parents’ marriage and the town’s inability to accept it. Her prose is measured and eerily perfect, a tone that Campbell expertly matches with her narration. It’s the sort of audiobook that occasionally makes you stop in your tracks while a sentence or moment sinks in.”


  • “This emotionally involving debut novel explores themes of belonging using the story of the death of a teenage girl, Lydia, from a mixed-race family in 1970s Ohio…When Lydia is discovered dead in a nearby lake, the family begins to fall apart. As the police try to decipher the mystery of Lydia’s death, her family realize that they didn’t know her at all. Lydia is remarkably imagined, her unhappy teenage life crafted without an ounce of cliché. Ng’s prose is precise and sensitive, her characters richly drawn.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Ng constructs a mesmerizing narrative that shrinks enormous issues of race, prejudice, identity, and gender into the miniaturist dynamics of a single family. A breathtaking triumph, reminiscent of prophetic debuts by Ha Jin, Chang-rae Lee, and -Chimamanda Adichie, whose first titles matured into spectacular, continuing literary legacies.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Tantalizingly thrilling, Ng’s emotionally complex debut novel captures the tension between cultures and generations with the deft touch of a seasoned writer. Ng will be one to watch.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Ng’s nuanced debut novel begins with the death of a teenage girl and then uses the mysterious circumstances of her drowning as a springboard to dive into the troubled waters beneath the calm surface of her Chinese-American family…Ng’s emotionally complex debut novel sucks you in like a strong current and holds you fast until its final secrets surface.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “The listener is easily drawn in…Campbell guide listeners carefully as she explores the complexities of families, and society in general…Campbell’s pacing is steady and calm, and her shifts between the past and present are clear.”


  • “Celeste Ng leavens the bridge between the disappearance of a young girl, and the personal histories that precede it, with the larger canvas issues of race and gender, without straying from the riveting emotional territory that make up the cornerstones of family: what is given, what is withheld, and what can never be known. Lydia Lee is every parent’s dream, fear, and devastation, wholly loved, just as completely lost. It is impossible to resist grieving alongside each one of these bereft, deeply realized characters, for we live their lives, and their story becomes ours from the first paragraph of this marvelous book.”

    Ru Freeman, author of On Sal Mal Lane

  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, June 2014
  • A 2014 School Library Journal Best Book
  • A 2014 New York Times Notable Book
  • One of Audible’s Best Audiobooks of 2014: Editors' Pick
  • A 2014 Entertainment Weekly Best Book for Fiction
  • A Salon Best Audiobook of the Year for 2014
  • Winner of the 2015 YALSA Alex Award for the 10 Best Adult Books That Appeal to Teen Audiences
  • The Amazon Best Book of 2014
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A School Library Journal Top Pick of Adult Audiobooks for Teens
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About the Author

Celeste Ng grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio, in a family of scientists. She attended Harvard and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan (now the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan), where she won the Hopwood Award. Her fiction and essays have appeared in One Story, TriQuarterly, Bellevue Literary Review, the Kenyon Review Online, and elsewhere, and she is the recipient of the Pushcart Prize. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and son.