This book is so intense and yet such an easy read and I have no idea how Celeste Ng does it. It is set in 70’s Ohio and starts off with the death of 16 year old Lydia Lee whose body is eventually found in a lake near her family’s home. Oh, this book is bristling with so much family tension and a lot of family secrets. And yes, it is a page-turner (something I’ve been desperately needing).

Celeste Ng also explores racism towards non-whites, especially the Asian community and it had never previously crossed my mind that blacks were not the only ones discriminated against. Yet again, I fail to see the sense in racism. Diversity is so beautiful and it’s tough to think there are still people ‘threatened’ by it.

There are also a good number of plot twists which I love in every story. I absolutely adore the language and style of writing; the flitting back and forth and the omnipresent perspective which I haven’t seen in ages. I felt like I’d gotten to know the characters and love them by the end of the story. I want to say more but I really do not want to give anything away.

If you can get your hands on this book, do it. I gave it five stars because I’ve never read more beautiful descriptions.


Every time she kissed him, every time he opened his arms and she crawled into them, felt like a miracle

The hypothetical past perfect, the tense of missed chances.

(What about Hannah? They set up her nursery in the bedroom in the attic, where things that were not wanted were kept

Years of yearning had made her sensitive, the way a starving dog twitches its nostrils at the faintest scent of food

It has been so long since he thought of his wife as a creature of want.

Just a problem of geography, he thought, with the confidence of someone who had never yet tried to free himself of family

the way memories of a lost loved one always smooth and simplify themselves, shedding complexities like scales.

Before that she hadn’t realized how fragile happiness was, how if you were careless, you could knock it over and shatter it.

He had forgotten what it was like to hold a child—to hold anyone—like that. How their weight sank into you, how they clung instinctively. How they trusted you

In the night, Marilyn wakes and feels her husband’s warmth beside her, smells the sweet scent of him, like toast, mellowed and organic and bittersweet.

I felt like I had stepped out of an emotional roller coaster after this. You know how you step off a ride and you’re simultaneously trying to get your guts to stay in place and still want to hop back on? (if you like rides)

Yes, that’s how I felt.