Friday, March 13, 2015

ARC Reviews ♥ Everything I Never Told You & The Start of Me and You

Friday, March 13, 2015


  • Everything I Never Told You
  • Celeste NG


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  • Publisher: Penguin Press;
  •  (June 26, 2014)
  • Genre: Literary Fiction
  • Purchase: Amazon 
  • Source: Review Copy was sent via Penguin Press.

  • Synopsis: Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue—in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party. When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia’s older brother, Nathan, is certain that the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it’s the youngest of the family—Hannah—who observes far more than anyone realizes and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened. 


  • Everything I Never Told You is the debut novel of Celesta NG. Lydia Lee is the beloved daughter of her parents, she's a teenager of mixed race, she's half Caucasian, and she's half Chinese. Ding ding .. that means she's most likely going to struggle to fit in her early years in the small town of Ohio. She's pressured from both of her parents Marilyn and James, Marilyn wants Lydia to fulfill her old dream and become a doctor and successful. James wants Lydia to become popular in school, and be quite social and outgoing. Then Lydia's body is found in the lake, was it suicide, murder, or accidental death?
  •  This is a beautiful debut of contemporary drama and family, I thought it might be boring and typical because the concept of "losing a child" was has been overly done in books. I love how it's quite different from previous novels I've read before - I've never read that much about mixed race characters in novels, they're usually white in practically every novel. I adored the concept of how mixed race children grow up, because it does happen in real life as well. It's realistic especially in small-towns where it probably happens the most. I couldn't put this novel down, it made me angry, upset, sad, and I was annoyed at the parents.
  •  I loved reading about all the characters from the main to secondary characters. The characters were quite flawed in several ways, but that's what made them real. My favorite character is Nathan, Lydia's brother. I liked that he was the only one who dared to speak back to his parents. That takes guts. I did believe the parents Marilyn and James were too harsh and extreme on their children especially Lydia. Lydia looks like both of her parents, she has her mother's blue eyes and her father's long, black hair. So basically, she is beautiful and exotic. She's her parents favorite daughter. That also makes her the one to suffer through their pressures and demands.. Every christmas, her mother gives her medical books as presents, and her father gives Lydia books on how to become popular? Like seriously..

  • That is one of the most oddest things I've ever heard; it almost can cross borderline obsession and insanity because Lydia is just a CHILD - she is barely sixteen years old. I wanted to scream at the parents JUST BE HAPPY THE WAY SHE IS. It depresses me when parents are overly strict with her children and suppress their child's desires. No one ever asked Lydia if she wants to become a doctor or popular..  I can relate to Lydia, my family had actually wanted me to become a doctor as well, and I felt pressurized for years - but I'm more stronger than the character Lydia, and I can refuse. I wish Lydia could have spoken up but she's vulnerable.
  • I did understand why the parents behaved in such ways - Marilyn had previously wanted to become a doctor, now she wants her daughter to fulfill her dream. James was never popular in school, so he wants his daughter to be the most popular person out there. I liked the flawed parents, but at the same time I despised them as well. Sometimes, I liked them - other times, I couldn't decide who I hated more. I did like Marilyn more though, she was the only woman in most of her classes at Harvard, she was sexually harassed by her male classmates and professors - yet she never complained, and she was a top student throughout the years. However, James showed more signs of weakness because he felt others picked on him and questioned his intelligence because of his race. James and Marilyn have both felt alienated in their lives, but James has let it impact it more negativity on his life.
  • What hurts more, being harassed because of your gender or because of your race? This novel makes one think - I feel they both do hurt, I've been told by people close to me that I'm weaker because I'm a female, and other times I've been called "terrorist" because of my Pakistani/Kashmiri race. I'm not sure what hurts more: sexist remarks or racist remarks. Sometimes racist jokes sting more, I can handle the "you belong in the kitchen" statement, there's nothing wrong if I did belong in the kitchen, you get delicious food there. However, being targeted because of your skin color and heritage is just one of the saddest things ever.. I can argue with people who don't have much knowledge. If I can help educate them, they might improve their mindset - however, I don't see any point in arguing with people who are educated but CHOSE to be ignorant. 
  • I liked the flashbacks of the parents lives - their romance was interesting and intriguing to read about. It made me understand the parents and their viewpoints better, and I didn't automatically hate them. Lydia has her fair share of romance as well, it's more on the awkward side though - The plot was amazing, I couldn't wait to find out what happens next. I do believe this is one of the few novels that focuses on family drama as a whole. Everything I Never Told You is beautifully written and the author has a well-done debut on her hands. The ending does feel a bit rushed though, it just was too intense suddenly - I would have liked one more chapter after that, otherwise this is still a lovely novel. I would strongly recommend trying out this novel, it's quite powerful. I would give it 4.5 butterflies.

Recommended for fans of Leaving Time, The Silent Sister, The Joy Luck Club, and The House on Mango Street.


The Start of Me and You
Emery Lord

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (March 31, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1619633599
Image and video hosting by TinyPicGenre: Contemporary Romance
Pre-Order: Amazon | B & N
Source: e-ARC was sent via Netgalley.
Synopsis: Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it's never too late for second chances. It's been a year since it happened--when Paige Hancock's first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. 

First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her--the perfect way to convince everyone she's back to normal. Next: Join a club--simple, it's high school after all. But when Ryan's sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. 

Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?



  • Paige Hancock's first boyfriend has drowned in an accident. Now, two years later she leaves the grief behind to start fresh with her life. She begins high school again, and has a plan in her mind - she's going to join a school club and get her old crush Ryan Chase to date her. What happens when you fake romance with one guy, but an opportunity of real romance comes your way?
  •  Emery Lord is a good writer, I had previously read her novel Open Road Summer which was a cute read overall. The covers of all of her novels are beautiful though, I especially like the cover The Start of Me and You. It's quite catchy and stunning, and I love the colors. I think it's one of my favorite YA covers this year! It's one of the main reasons I actually wanted to read this book. I thought this novel was quite slow and lagging though, I barely found negative reviews about this one - the hype is quite crazy already. I barely managed to finish the book, of course as always, the odd ball out.
  •  I wasn't a huge fan of the character Paige, her grief with her boyfriend who has passed away was quite overwhelming at times. She will find love elsewhere soon, she's only young right now.. Her character made me angry at times, because she had too much pride at times. I couldn't understand her character, she seemed arrogant and shallow. I liked the male lead Max better than Ryan, simply because I relate more to the nerdy and intelligent type. Max's character is what saved the novel for me. I loved the aspect of female friendships in the novel, that's not something that's common in books nowadays. Paige seemed quite desperate to win Ryan over, but once Max comes into the picture - she begins to double think her motives and intentions. I don't mind love triangles that much anymore, since every other YA novel has a love triangle now so I lowered my expectations. However, I cannot understand cliche love interests. There are some parts in the romance that are cute, I did like the dialogue and some parts of the story line.
  • I do prefer Open Road Summer over The Start of Me and You, this doesn't have the same magic as her previous novel - it's not as extraordinary as I would have liked it to be. Of course, it's still a contemporary romance, so it probably won't be as original. I've read similar books to this novel already, it seems generic, boring, and disappointing. Overall, I would rate it two butterflies.
Recommended for fans of Open Road Summer, and Twenty Boy Summer.

  • Shukran for reading this! Leave your blog links in the comments & I'll be sure to check them out & follow :) Stay in tuned pretty creatures.. 

    “Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness.” —George R.R. Martin 
    femmmefatalee@gmail.com

42 comments:

  1. My thoughts when I see the first book that u reviewed is omgggg.... COVER LUST AMIRITE?

    Alex @ The Book's Buzz

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  2. YES FOR DIVERSE NOVELS! I can definitely relate to Lydia as well, the pressures of Asian societies are everywhere, but I'm so lucky to have liberal parents that supported me when they realised that I didn't want to be a doctor or work in commerce like the rest of my cousins. It will definitely be interesting to explore the parent's viewpoints because it's not their fault they're so pushy either...it was just the way they grew up and when you think about it, they just want better for you.

    I'm not all that much of a contemporary fan to be honest, I find them to be quite cliche and repetitive at times. And most of them just aim to break your heart and there are only so many tears I can produce in a week :P

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    1. I agree with you on that, it is the way the parents were raised & brought up - Sometimes I hated their logic, but other times I quite sympathized with them with their backgrounds and all, although, I do feel parents can always change their mindset later on for the better. Everything I never Told You is a beautiful novel, I would really recommend it ❤️

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  3. It might sound crazy to other people, but I so agree with you that the more flawed a character is, the more I can relate to them and really get into the story
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

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    1. Yaay! I'm glad you could agree with me on that, thank you for dropping by ❤️

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  4. I'll admit I haven't read any works of these authors yet but I LOVE the sound of Everything I Never Told You. Definitely adding it to my tbr (I'm trying to read more diverse books so this is perfect!). I love flawed characters and seeing how their character grows! Sorry to hear The Start of Me and You wasn't for you though. I've been reading mixed reviews with that one. I'll most likely read Open Road Summer before this one to get a feel for her writing style but boy are the covers are gorgeous. Thanks for stopping by my blog today! :)

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    1. Everything I never Told You is a beautiful novel that I would recommend ❤️ The covers are lovely as well x The Start of Me and You was quite ordinary - I prefer Open Road Summer better. Waiting to hear your thoughts on them soon :)

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  5. Everything I Never Told You seems pretty interesting, actually. I love the sound of Nathan, especially. I guess that's because he sounds a bit like my little brother. And hooray for diversity, especially because they're Chinese like me. :)

    The Start of Me and You seems like a frustrating read. I'll admit, I do want to read it because of the cover and because so many other bloggers have been recommending her books to me, but Paige really seems shallow, even just from reading the synopsis alone. :(

    Lovely reviews, Benish!

    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

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    1. Everything I never Told You is a really amazing novel, it completely surprised me :)

      The Start of Me and You is just average YA - I've seen this concept already in books many times, and this wasn't anything special in particular. Thank you love ❤️

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  6. Parents like the ones in "Everything..." make me sad. Sounds like an emotional but good read.

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    1. I agree, it was depressing but it's reality.

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  7. sorry you didn't like The Start of Me and You but happy to see that you liked Everything I Never Told You, it is actually sound interesting :D have a lovely weekend

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    1. Thank you, hope you have a lovely weekend as well ❤️

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  8. The first books sounds really good, but pretty tragic. Sounds really depressing too. Sorry the second book didn't do much for you. I'm not much of a fan of YA contemporary so I don't think it'll be a read that I'll find interesting. Thanks for sharing, Benish! xx

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    1. Yes, YA contemporary isn't really my type, it's like I read the same story again & again. Thank you for dropping by ❤️

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  9. Everything I Never Told You sounds great, if a bit...depressing? I think I'm going to have to add it to my list, because I really want to read it for myself!

    I'm sorry The Start of Me and You didn't wow you, I'm hearing such mixed reviews about that one. Hmmm.

    Wonderful reviews Benish :)

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    1. Open Road Summer is a lot better than The Start of Me and You -

      & Yes, the first book is a bit saddening, frustrating but the story is amazing and realistic. Thank you x

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  10. Everything I Never Told You has been on my radar for a bit, now that I've read your review--I think I'll actually pick it up!

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    1. You should, I would really recommend it - it's beautifully written :)

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  11. I had been really looking forward to The Start of Me and You, but now I'm worried! Your comments about the main character have me wondering if I should read it. I'm really big on characters and unlikable or infuriating MCs are my pet peeve!

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    1. I wasn't the biggest fan of The Start of Me and You, hopefully your taste might be different from mine? :)

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  12. I've heard of Everything I Never Told You but not The Start of Me and You. Hmmmm...I think EINTY might be a book I will enjoy but as for the other one, I'm just not so sure. But I do enjoy a contemporary romance b/c sometimes I need that kind of book, you know? As always Benish...lovely reviews! ♥

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    1. Thank you Cristina ♥ Everything I Never Told You is a fantastic read, I cannot explain how much I experienced reading it, thank you for dropping by <3

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  13. Oh wow, I think it is terrible that people have called you such things! I do get the names as well, because of my skin colour :/ Sometimes it is terrible what some people will think of simply because they can or they have set out to hurt you, or hate people like you without knowing you completely.

    As for Everything I never Told You, I think I would like to try it1 I like the idea of all the characters, and even the secondary ones being likeable! I think the plot is an intriguing idea and realistic as well, because pressure in life is happening to children at a younger and younger age. The mystery element seems cool as well.

    In regard to The Start of Me and You, and I am going to miss that one. I'm sorry you couldn't love it. But we have a similar taste in books so I predict that I wouldn't like it too much either...

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    1. Yes, you should do try out Everything I Never Told You - it's such a beautiful novel, I believe everyone should read it atleast once.


      The Start of Me and You was a miss for me .. Beautiful cover but disappointing story overall. Thank you for dropping by Olivia x

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  14. So cool!!

    You should check out my blog if you have time and leave a comment on a post you like!! :) Keep up the great work!

    https://www.blogger.com/profile/01719899317129227765

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  15. So cool!!

    You should check out my blog if you have time and leave a comment on a post you like!! :) Keep up the great work!

    https://www.blogger.com/profile/01719899317129227765

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  16. I love how detail and honest your reviews are Benish! The gifs you use are too cute x

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  17. Awww, too bad The Start of Me and You had a shallow character, those types of character can really annoy me if they don't get any better during the course of the book. Your review is beautiful and honest for Everything I never Told You, it's sad that racism and sexism exists in even advanced countries. The book sounds like it was really emotional!

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    1. Thank you Jeann ♥ You should defo. try reading Everything I Never Told You - it's a beautiful novel that I enjoyed a lot.

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  18. The cover of that first book is pretty original! I like character flaws, because like you mentioned it makes them real and I love characters that feel realistic. Although those parents sound really harsh, I can understand parents projecting their own wishes on their kids, but giving her books and assuming she wants to become a doctor and popular is a bit too much. I am happy you enjoyed this one.
    I am sorry to hear you didn't enjoy The Start of Me and You that much.

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    1. Yes, some parts were quite shocking and disturbing - I couldn't believe some parents would even do that, it is a wonderful book that I do believe everyone should experience once.

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  19. Great reviews!

    The first book sounds like it would be an original yet intense read. Very interesting concept as well. Something I haven't really read before. Sorry The Start of Me and You wasn't as good as of read.

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    1. Thank you for dropping by Magen <3

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  20. "Everything I Never Told You" sounds like such a great read, well fleshed characters and a fab storyline.
    A shame you didn't really like "The Start of Me and You", because it sounds like my kind of read. Disappointing when you can't connect with the main characters.

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

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    1. The Start of Me and You was quite disappointing - hopefully you might like it more than me :)

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  21. The first book sounds AWESOME. I'll admit that I only want to read The Start of Me and You because I read Open Road Summer and really enjoyed it. Will be sure to check both of these out! Great reviews! :)

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    1. Thank you Marianne<3 I hope you enjoy these then :)

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