• Everything I Never Told You

  • By: Celeste Ng
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (153 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Lydia is the favourite child of Marilyn and James Lee - a girl who inherited her mother's bright-blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair.

Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfil the dreams they were unable to pursue. But Lydia is under pressures that have nothing to do with growing up in 1970s small town Ohio. Her father is an American born of Chinese immigrants and his ethnicity, and hers, make them conspicuous. 

When Lydia's body is found in a lake, James is consumed by guilt and sets out on a reckless path. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to make someone accountable. Lydia's brother, Nathan, is convinced that local bad boy Jack is involved. But it's the youngest in the family - Hannah - who may be the only one who knows what really happened.

©2014 Celeste Ng (P)2014 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"[A] moving tale...of daughters for whom cultural disconnect is but the first challenge." (Vogue)

"The mysterious circumstances of 16-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)

"There is much here that might impress Pulitzer and Man Booker judges." (Mark Lawson, Guardian)

What listeners say about Everything I Never Told You

Average Customer Ratings
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loved this book. Didn't sleep til it was finished

loved this book. Didn't sleep til it was finished. I characters are so well illustrated and the story has real depth.

2 people found this helpful

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Exceptional!

I read this because I loved "Little Fires Everywhere" by the same author, and this was just as good. Celeste Ng is my new favourite author!

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Gripping and sad

This is a perfect audiobook - Cassandra Campbell did an awesome job on this compelling and incredibly sad story.

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A must-listen

This novel is heartbreakingly sad, but I couldn't stop listening. It is complex and beautiful

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Profile Image for Deb Murphy
  • Deb Murphy
  • 04-22-16

Superb!

A moving, intelligent novel with depth and compassion. I'll miss the characters. It's the type of book that makes you think about your own relationship with your children and ask yourself if you're unconsciously trying to make them fit into a particular mould.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Lois
  • 09-24-18

Disappointing

I am not sure how I finished this book. The narration was a long continuous whine making even the happy times sound depressing. Very disappointing, would not recommend.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Maintenon
  • 11-30-15

Beautiful, wise, engrossing

The blurb on the front, from Marie Claire magazine: "this book calls to mind 'The Lovely Bones'. An unwarranted insult in my opinion; this book is a darn sight better than that one!

34 people found this helpful

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  • Grayl
  • 05-22-18

Engaging and thought provoking

I found the audiobook well ready and captivating. I thought the story of the family was engaging enough without being truly riveting. It provided food for thought. I found it a good way to pass time.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Doreen
  • 11-12-18

Overly sentimentalised and SO slow

This novel tells the story of a mixed race marriage in the USA in 60s-70s. The only interesting side to this tale is that we forget, all too quickly, how we have moved to living within ethnically mixed communities. In the USA when this story starts, a mixed marriage was still illegal in some states!
Both parents try to re write their own past shortcoming/ failures by directing their children to succeed, be beautiful and smart and the whole book is a litany of parental mistakes. It is over sentimentalised, overly emotional and really depressing. The tale unravels just too slowly and after 1 hour , I should have sent it back. It was actually really boring!!

44 people found this helpful

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  • Kirstie Freeman-Ayres
  • 02-02-19

Heart breaking

This is a story about parents and how their experiences impact on their children.

It took me a while to get into this book so I'd recommend that you persevere with it if you find it a bit slow to start with.
I found it devastating and quite difficult to listen to at times. That says so much about the author's intention though, in my opinion. The tiny glimmers of hope at the end of the book made me sob.
Do listen to 'little fires everywhere' which is equally good.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Mr SM McGann
  • 08-24-19

Sooo boring!!

Bloody Hell this was painful to listen to!
Sooo boring!
Kept listening thinking it would get better.
Felt writer had one hell of a huge chip on her shoulder.
Awful, don’t waste your money or you credits.
Narrator didn’t help, far too ‘breathy’!!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Pippa Mitchell
  • 06-11-18

Thought provoking

Not any easy listen in many respects but thought provoking and powerful. Makes you reassess your own family relationships. Only downside was unfortunately I hated the narrator which made it difficult to finish.

10 people found this helpful

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  • CGGOW
  • 07-06-18

A smart, sensitive page turner

Not as exquisitely plotted as Little Fires Everywhere (which is the better book) but just as engrossing and sensitively written. Her characters are always believable.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Clare
  • 01-16-18

Interested throughout, unhappy with the ending.

What did you like best about Everything I Never Told You? What did you like least?

The book certainly held one's attention. The interpretation of the same events by different characters was well done, and by and large the characters were believable, but the Mother's was the least credible I felt. Her dropping of all contact with her mother, complete abandonment of the family and then obsessive focus on just her daughter, made her the source of most of the family's problems; yet nobody appeared to question her or her judgement, and the reader is asked to accept that it was all down to thwarted ambition.

What aspect of Cassandra Campbell’s performance might you have changed?

Her style is very flat and factual, but that probably suited the story.

Any additional comments?

I found the ending rather unsatisfactory. Spoiler alert! - The idea that she didn't intend to commit suicide, but rather thought that she, a non-swimmer, would magically swim to the dock was absurd. Also it it hinted that Nath comes to share his life with Jack - how neat, but implausible.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Susan
  • 06-24-20

So pleased I ignored the bad reviews.

What a brilliant analysis of racism, helicopter parenting and 'man's inhumanity to man'. It prompted me to think about my attitude to my own family. In parts it was shocking - was it only 40 years ago when marriage outside you own race was frowned upon and openly derided?
There were so many epiphany moments in this book I have lost count.
Also, the narrator was excellent - her voice was clear, sometimes mellifluous, sometimes angry, sometimes child-like. I cannot believe that some called it morose. This novel should not be missed and I'm looking forward to more books from this author.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-24-20

Sad but mesmerizing, the human condition encapsul

Remarkable storytelling again from this author.
Was put off by the narrator at first till I changed the reading speed. I think it is automatically set too slow, which i haven't encountered before, could explain other narrative reviews.
Very sad story with pertinent lessons on communication.
Well recommended, I learnt many things to ruminate over.

5 people found this helpful

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  • tracy
  • 10-19-18

narrator was terrible.

it's not a happy story but the narrator was too morose and monotonous in tone.

4 people found this helpful

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  • pen606
  • 09-21-18

Couldn’t finish

This may well be a good story but I could not continue listening to the morose tone and mundane delivery of the narrator. Recommended for insomniacs only!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Eleanor
  • 07-30-19

Brilliant

I loved this story it’s poignant, heartfelt sad..
and I liked the narration a lot

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kate
  • 07-02-19

Not bad

Narrator's voice was annoying butbthe storyline helped to keep me interested.
The characters are well developed

2 people found this helpful

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  • Heidi (but books are better)
  • 06-14-18

Sad but profound story about families

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

This must be one of the saddest and most foreshadowing opening sentences I’ve ever come across, and it was a sign of things to come. Rarely has a book pierced straight through me like this heart-breaking novel of dysfunctional family dynamics, secrets, broken dreams and things left unsaid until it is too late. I loved Ng’s novel Little Fires Everywhere for her portrayal of family life, and this one (her previous novel) shows the same astute insights into the very hearts of her characters, until they are laid bare in front of us.

Everything I Never Told You is all about parents, and the way their broken dreams affect their children – how they form their personality, the way they view the world, their relationships and their futures. A sad but profound story from a very talented author.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ms S J Hutchison
  • 03-07-18

Good story, great narration.

Really liked it; sensitive characterization, interesting story and background. I sometimes wondered if the parents weren't characterised as a little too oblivious to their children's needs. Top points for narration - the narrator has a fascinating yet comfortable voice, with a slightly ironic tome that added to the story.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Chloe
  • 06-28-21

A moving story, beautifully told

I love Celeste Ng's imagery and metaphor. At times the characters are a little clichéd and one dimensional, but having lost a sibling myself, the narrative resonated and moved me to tears more than once. I thoroughly enjoyed this to the very end.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Janine Jaede
  • 06-01-21

Such a sad story

A story of sacrifice, forgiveness and how our own childhood unknowingly affects our children.