“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” (pg.1)
With a beginning like that, who wouldn’t be hooked? For roughly the first three chapters I was blazing through each page. In those chapters I understood all the hype. What isn’t compelling about a Chinese American family in a 1970s small town dealing with the death of their daughter?
Somewhere in the third chapter I started to piece together… well, everything. When a book is built upon secrets, whether the mystery behind their daughter’s death or the dark thoughts the family members keep from each other, then those twists shouldn’t be so obvious. Once I figured out the first major revelation (and how cliche it was) it killed the momentum.
I soon became very salty. I didn’t really care about the Lee family because everything was so predictable. By page 130 I pretty much guessed everything but I kept reading… hoping I was wrong and I would be surprised (hint: I wasn’t).
Two things kept me from hurdling this book across the room chased with a litany of profanities: the writing and the children.
Ng definitely has a strong command of language and knows how to use it to draw beautiful images. I think this is one of the reasons why I’m so salty. Her words transported me in the beginning, but as soon as the spell was broken I couldn’t go back.
The other aspect that worked were the three Lee children. While I lost all sympathy for the parents, I genuinely felt sorry for the children. Not only did they have to deal with the prejudices of small-town America, but their horrid parents as well.
Look, I don’t mind characters with awful personalities so long as they are compelling. As soon as their secrets are out, the parents, James and Marilyn, cease to be interesting and just become annoyingly awful.
Now as harsh as I was towards Everything I Never Told I still don’t think you should automatically take this off your ‘to read’ shelf. My opinion seems to be in the minority. If you still want to give it a try than go for it. But it you run into the same issue I did let me just tell you, it doesn’t get better.
In The Margins:
- Don’t know if I’ll get any trolls for this review. Please note that this is only what I thought and felt. I just couldn’t get on the love train for this book.
- I just wanted one “OH MY!!” moment. None. *Sigh*
- Next Week: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. YA is hit or miss with me so we shall see how this goes.