EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU
Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . .
So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town 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’s 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 that 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.
New York Times, National, & International Bestseller
Amazon's #1 Best Book of 2014
Winner, Massachusetts Book Award 2015
Winner, ALex Award 2015
Winner, ASIAN/PACIFIC AMERICAN AWARD FOR LITERATURE IN ADULT FICTION
Winner, MEDICI BOOK CLUB PRIZE 2015
Finalist: Ohioana Award • John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award • VCU Cabell First Novelist Award
New York Times Book Review Notable Book, 2014
Best Book of the Year: NPR • Entertainment Weekly • Huffington Post • Buzzfeed • Grantland • Booklist • San Francisco Chronicle • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Shelf Awareness • School Library Journal • Time Out New York • and more
Rights sold in More than 20 Languages
“If we know this story, we haven’t seen it yet in American fiction, not until now… Ng has set two tasks in this novel’s doubled heart—to be exciting, and to tell a story bigger than whatever is behind the crime. She does both by turning the nest of familial resentments into at least four smaller, prickly mysteries full of secrets the family members won’t share… What emerges is 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.”
— Alexander Chee, The New York Times Book Review
"[A]n accomplished debut... It's also heart-wrenching. Ng deftly pulls together the strands of this complex, multigenerational novel. Everything I Never Told You is an engaging work that casts a powerful light on the secrets that have kept an American family together — and that finally end up tearing it apart."
"Both a propulsive mystery and a profound examination of a mixed-race family... [an] explosive debut."
— ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
A "cleverly crafted, emotionally perceptive debut ... Ng's themes of assimilation are themselves deftly interlaced into a taut tale of ever deepening and quickening suspense."