Everything I Never Told You

Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4 out of 5 stars (113 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.

When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, James is consumed by guilt, and Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to hold someone accountable.

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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

1 person 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.

15 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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!

20 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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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!!

28 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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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.

10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

6 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.

2 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.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

4 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’!!

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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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.

1 person 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!

1 person found this helpful

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  • ele
  • 07-30-19

Brilliant

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

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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

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Heidi (but books are better)
  • 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.

1 person 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.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Diana
  • 03-19-16

Frustrating for many reasons, but well narrated

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

As I found the characters at the centre of this story very frustrating, I probably would not recommend it.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The most interesting aspect of the story was the central line of inquiry: Lydia's life, activities, feelings. Was this murder, or suicide? This part of the story took a long time to unravel. While it was very satisfying to finally know what was going on with Lydia, the time it took to get to her was frustrating.

The least interesting aspect of the story wasn't so much "uninteresting" as "cliched" -- James Lee's choices after his daughter's death probably provided the least merit in the story.

Did Everything I Never Told You inspire you to do anything?

Communicate with my family! While listening to this story I often felt extreme anger and frustration at each remaining family member -- Marilyn's selfishness and inability to accept her children for who they were; James's inability to learn to communicate with his son; Nathan's refusal to speak to police about his suspicions or to speak up within his family; the parents' constant and literal ignorance of the two children who weren't Lydia. This family's story was a definite "what not to do" for family life.

Any additional comments?

The ending was much neater than I had anticipated partway through -- it didn't seem detrimental to the story overall though, and provided some hope for the family's future.

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Profile Image for Amy Zang
  • Amy Zang
  • 03-18-16

Beautiful and moving!

I really enjoyed the story line! The author describes the struggle each character very well! As the story unfolds, you feel their pain and torment!