Book Review: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere was the first of Celeste Ng’s books that I’ve read. But it definitely won’t be my last.

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Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere: Synopsis

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned - from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours 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 just 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 rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends 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 an unexpected and devastating cost . . .

A review of Little Fires Everywhere:

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

The plot of Little Fires Everywhere is intricate, complex but still plausible at the same time as being full of mystery. I personally love reading books that are beautifully written. And Little Fires Everywhere is exactly that type of book. So, with all of that in mind, I can safely say that Little Fires Everywhere deserves all of the glowing reviews it has received.

The characters are so well developed, with multi-layered personalities and complex back stories. Each comes with their own set of flaws, so they are realistic and often relatable, even if this means that they aren’t always likeable.

At first glance it’s easy to think that this is a story about teenagers but this novel is so much more complex than that. Beneath it all, the story is about how tricky, messy and stressful mother and daughter relationships can be at times. And about how blurred the lines can be between what is right and wrong, and how that can differ depending on which side you’re standing on.

My main criticism is that at times the story seems to move quite slowly. However, Celeste Ng’s drip-feeding narrative style does add to the mystery element of the novel.

Overall, I would say that if you like character-focused, rather than plot driven stories, you will want to pick up a copy of Little Fires Everywhere.

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Book review of Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng book review

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I'm Shannon. Welcome to Tales from the Country, a countryside lifestyle blog for those who dream of escaping the hustle and bustle of life and about embracing all that comes from living in the British countryside.

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  1. 2.12.21

    Fantastic review and I love your windowsill picture of the book! I’ve heard mixed things about Little Fires Everywhere
    (I think it inspires strong emotions) but you make me want to pick it up!

    • 3.1.21 said:

      Thank you, this is lovely of you! It definitely covers some tricky subjects but I can’t recommend it enough. I hope you find the time to read it and that you love it as much as I did!