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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned - from the layout of the winding roads to the colors of the houses to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren - an enigmatic artist and single mother - who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter, Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants - all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town - and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood - and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

©2017 Celeste Ng (P)2017 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Witty, wise, and tender. It's a marvel." (Paula Hawkins, New York Times best-selling author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Story

Boring and Drawn Out!!!

Kept falling asleep while listening, but was determined to finish it, especially due to all the hype over this audiobook. The story never got any better, and the ending was ridiculous! Really wish I could understand why there are so many great reviews. What are people seeing, that I just don't? As for the narration, J.L. did a pretty good job of performing each of the characters, though she did not use different voices or inflections for them. She basically used the same voice during the whole story. Sadly, I would definitely recommend passing this one up, and not wasting your time on it. 👎🏼

22 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Let Me Stop You Right There

To me, this book was written by an author who believes that her listeners are as thick as two planks. Further, the tone of the narrator adds to the unbelievably slick and condescending flavor of the whole package. Everything is so slowly drawn out and hammered down that there is no room for any personal thought or feelings the reader might dare to have. I'm bored. Are we there yet?

46 of 52 people found this review helpful

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Conformity vs. thinking for yourself

Celeste Ng covers a lot of ground in Little Fires Everywhere - conformity vs. thinking for yourself, motherhood, relationships, secrets, lies, culture, ethnicity, creativity, economic safety vs. barely getting by, family dynamics, and privilege. There really are little fires everywhere, both literal and figurative. Like Everything I Never Told You, this story opens at the end and then the author tells an engrossing tale to explain how it all unfolded. Ng has an extraordinary ability to make the reader consider a story from different perspectives through her well-developed and complicated characters. Even the setting of Shaker Heights, planned, manicured, and with rules for everything, contributes to the narrative.

Some of the parts that I found most exceptional were the descriptions of Mia Warren's art. The character captured so much in her photographs, and Ng captured so much in her writing about them. I'm going to be thinking about this book and those photographs for quite a while.

30 of 35 people found this review helpful

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Out of Focus

Reminded me much of The Nest. Where the entire book talk about random life facts of the characters without much passion or meaning. True, characters go thru traumatic experiences, but nothing reliable or meant to connect with the reader/listener. The story (or many different stories) did not touch my heart, or made me smile, or cry, nor excite. It was simply a story of the life of different families and their struggles. Not even sure why this is a best seller. Good books are supposed to ignite unexpected feelings for its reader, keep you excited and passionate about its characters, and leave you wanting more.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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little epiphanies everywhere

Another thoughtful and thought-provoking book by Celeste Ng. I loved her first book, and didn't imagine that this one could be as good, but it is. This is a sensitive and nuanced look at motherhood, social class and race. She does not let her characters or her plot off with easy answers, or with good guys and bad guys. Even though each character seems to be somewhat of a "type" initially, as the narrative deepens we see how multifaceted each participant in this story is and I found myself feeling more and more empathy for each of them as the story developed. Lovely and evocative book that I didn't want to end. I listened to this as an audiobook (from Audible) and thought the narrator was perfect.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Just okay

I was a bit disappointed. I was looking forward to the release of this book because I enjoyed the first book so much. The story could have had more depth and there were times I had to force myself to finish the book.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Unpredictable

This story contains lots of twists and turns. Captivating. Love this author's attitude and zest!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Starts light but leaves a lasting impression

At first I thought, here we go--another book about suburban angst and class divide. I was kind of right. But the author does an impressive job of weaving the characters together and placing them in situations that requires choices that test their values and beliefs. Enough substantive events to keep it interesting.

In the end Ng gives us enough to feel satisfied but wanting to know more about the future of her characters based on their choices. To me, the best books leave you wanting more. Fires does just that so I guess I would have to say it one of the best books this year.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Get the abridged version if there is one

This story had a clever plot and good character development but it was way too long. The author engaged in long pointless lists of irrelevant detail as if she were being paid by the word.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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little fires big lies!!! loved it

Very quick read that's hard to put down. was sad when I finished listening. Wished for more.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful