Expect to evaluate your relationships with your kids after reading this book.
This One Made it to My Permanent Bookshelf!
Sometimes I find a good book long after it was published. The buzz around this book might be over since its 2014 debut but it was still worthy of my bookshelf. What I mean is that even though I borrowed it on my kindle, I felt the need to buy it and display it on my bookshelf at home. Full disclosure: I don’t like clutter. Sure, I love the feel and smell of a “real book” as much as the next bookworm, but I don’t like holding onto them if I’ll never read them again. My bookshelf at home may be small, but it only holds books that I want to display proudly. My invisible kindle bookshelf would cover the span of my living room wall (or close to it).
Everything I Never Told You follows the bumpy life of an interracial middle-class family of five in America. The Caucasian-American mother and the Chinese-American father battle their own insecurities throughout the book and project them onto their middle child Lydia. For mom, Lydia has a vast amount of academic potential. For dad, she is part Chinese but passes for Caucasian and therefore won’t have to face the challenges that he did growing up. Both parents love all three of their kids; however, each is very focused on Lydia which causes a lot of issues within the family. When Lydia turns up dead, the family is left wondering how a child who seemed so happy and popular could suddenly be gone forever. Her death is a shadow on the family and its up to them to find their way back from it.
Why did I enjoy such a sad story? I always try to veer away from books and movies that involve harm befalling a child. It was readable for me because her death is addressed in the book right away before we know her character. Then as the story unfolds we go back and forth in time, learning about each person in the story. When you’re inside the minds of each character every situation they face seems so simple and understandable. I found myself wanting to tell characters “that’s not what she meant” or “Lydia thinks this is her fault.” A lot of the stress and struggle in the family stemmed from each person’s perceptions and insecurities. It seemed that open conversation could have prevented a lot of their problems. Ultimately, this book was a good read even with tragedy involved.
Kristin lives in the PNW with her husband, and three kids. She loves to read YA fiction, fantasy, and romance. She’s recently entered the world of “Booktok” on Tiktok, and is having way too much fun following the trends of young folks. The only shows she watches are re-runs, and if she’s not reading a book she’s listening to one.