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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

Overall

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  • Wendi
  • Overland Park, KS, United States
  • 09-14-17

I Actually Pre-Ordered This.. Never Again

I was really looking forward to 'Little Fires Everywhere' by Celeste Ng. The day my pre-order was available I immediately downloaded and started to listen. I listened for two hours and I thought 'there has to be more than this.'

I listened for another three hours. The book is about a neighbourhood and kids' pranks and a woman's job and how some people pay bills. Okay, maybe there is some deep symbolism I am missing. However, I don't care. This book is boring, tedious, and I dare to say it's a YA book- however the YA audience would find it boring too.

I am returning this dud. Even the narrator sounds like a little child. The characters are disjointed, the plot is all over the place and the whole book pretty much sucks. Urgh.

Audible, I will need this credit back.

-Wendi

26 of 37 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.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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A wonderful read

Thoroughly enjoyed the story and narration. I listened to everything I never told you twice and love Celeste Ng's writing. This new book does not disappoint. Thank you.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Stacey Z.
  • Thousand Oaks, CA, United States
  • 09-17-17

really great story!

I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and the reader had a wonderful voice!
I would recommend highly

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • DS
  • 09-15-17

Tedious

I pre-ordered this on the strength of her first novel. This is nothing like that book. I only got through 1 hour of this. It is plodding and 2 hours in, I don't want to invest any more time on plodding scenery with zero plot.

6 of 11 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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Splendidly written!

The story was delicious, Rich with the cream of life, the sweet and sour. From an artist’s perspective which was refreshing. I enjoyed every last drop. :-)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Depressing!

Firstly, I don't give any real spoilers in this review, but it's best to just listen if you are intent on it. Still this book made me so mad, I had to write it as a cathartic event for me to let it out! The book started out slow and didn't really get started until a couple of hours in. The narrator made the book bearable as she was quite good, not speaking too slow which I dislike. The book reminded me of a movie from the 90s called 'losing Isaiah' tucked within another lifetime movie, but very cliche and nothing new to here. I found the book just made me feel depressed and then angry. The main character Mia is an insufferable, unapologetic, selfish person that the author is trying to make out as some kind of feminist hero. She isn't at all, she was a deeply flawed person that caused chaos and hurt everywhere she turned. It disgusted me how the author made her out to be some kind of renegade. Also, I was annoyed at the author for an inaccurate part in the book where a lawyer told someone that Mattel didn't make Asian Barbies. I know that the are far more of the blond hair/blue eye Barbies out there, but I a child of the 80s (the book takes place in late 90s) I had two Asian Barbies and one was my favorite. She had long black hair and almond colored eyes. I'm guessing the author thought she wasn't Asian or wasn't familiar. One of my dolls was a rock star and the other wore a tropical bathing suit (I'm guessing here they are saying she's Hawaiian). But I always thought my beloved doll Miko was Asian. I guess I'm just a little bit upset too of the current climate in that all white people are just racist and ignorant to minority struggles. It was just screaming off the pages of this book. Not cool Ng. This is my last book from this author.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Exhilarating, masterfully woven piece

Ms. Ng carries her audience, building from the tiniest of sparks, until she has us in the grip of a roaring fire. Her storylines, like bramble wood, develop and twist, entwining with each other and amply providing the fuel to keep Little Fires Everywhere in the reader's mind for a very long time. Beautifully and masterfully written story.

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Beautiful writing about our deep down selves

Poetic words describe the heartache of following someone else’s rules of doing what is “right” and what “success” means to a person. Nicely crafted characters that you want to know better. Jennifer Lin does a beautiful performance reading the various voices. A really nice listen.

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