Sunday, 12 March 2017

Cova Reviews | Everything I Never Told You - Celeste Ng | 2017 Diverse Reads Challenge

Hi there! This post is a review for the 2017 Diverse Reads Challenge for the month of February. I know it's probably a bit late, but honestly I haven't had much time to sit and write blog posts for a while now - exams and family visits take up too much of my time! (yes, my scheduled post came in handy 😏) So sorry this one's coming slightly off time 😀 

So anyway. February's topic was POC main character / Biracial / Multiracial. I went for biracial with Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste NG. I was really excited to read this book because I'd read about it in so many different places and, although I didn't really know what it was about, it caught my attention. Sadly, it didn't quite lift up to my expectations :(

Lydia is a half-Chinese/half-American teenager who lives in the 70s. She lives with her family - Chinese dad, American mum, and an older brother and a younger sister. The book starts off telling you Lydia is dead. That we know. What we don't know is how, when or why. We will find out as we dive into Lydia's past and her family's, and we will see how difficult it is to be raised in a country that's just starting to accept people of other races. 

This book started off really nicely - that first page really got me! But it was all downhill from there. I found the story quite boring, not really making me want to read more when I put it down. 

I think the idea it tries to get through is very important - while all of us are people, some feel different because other people treat them differently, and it is very hard to grow up like that - knowing you'll never be like the rest, that they won't accept you. But it's not all about racism in this book. It's also about family, and how children grow up depending on the environment they have at home - what's expected from them, what they, in turn, expect from themselves, how they want to please and how they do so. I realised whilst reading this book that there are a lot of factors that influence the way one develops. It made me think how I would have turned up had I had different parents, different up-bringing. I believe this is something we have to think about and appreciate. Also, there is a third controversial topic that will come up - but I'm not going to spoil it for you guys! ;) Just know that I really appreciated it coming up. That one was smooth, and I didn't see it coming!

The characters in this book are unique. Because it is such a dramatic story, you get to know the characters and their grieve - how each of the members of the family deals with the situation they've found themselves in. And because it is also told in the form of flashbacks, you also get to know Lydia (and the reasons that led her to be dead). I liked that the stories of each of the character feel real - what they do could happen to anyone in their situation, and we are also reminded that our actions can and do affect other people.

What I would have liked to see more of is the mystery itself. I get the feeling that the main idea of the book is not to solve the mystery, but to realise the 3 controversial topics the books talks about. However, I think this should not be this way - it should talk you through the controversial topics while showing you through the mystery of why Lydia is dead. You should not be told the book is about racism or family matters, but it should be implicit in the story. I did like the title and what it means in the story, though :P

Overall, I didn't really enjoy the book, but I appreciated the topics it talks about, that certainly made me think. I will give it 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Do you have a different opinion about Everything I Never Told You? I'd love to hear! :D Also, leave me your links to your 2017 Diverse Reads Challenge down below so I can have a look at what you read for the month of February! 

Happy reading!

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