Everything I Never Told You paints itself as a murder mystery but once the story starts to blossom and expand the real mystery isn’t quite what you anticipate.
At first this novel reminded me so much of The Lovely Bones it was ridiculous. It was nearly a carbon copy. Young teenage girl in the 1970s living in a small town suburb goes missing and is suspected murdered. Two parents break apart and the two remaining siblings are left to deal with the wreckage. Mom leaves the family and then comes back, dad sees dead daughter everywhere, while the youngest sibling remains nearly forgotten.
It wasn’t until about a little more than halfway through that the novel started to take a different course. It became much more of a family/emotional/coming of age drama than a mystery. And the drama revolved around Lydia, the suspected murdered sister. For me, the theme that stuck out most in the novel was a be careful what you wish for. Every member of the family ardently wished for something to come true, and it did. But that wish soon morphed into something wholly different and for some family members unbearable. The father James wishes to fit in so badly he picks a wife who he thinks would be a cookie cutter American wife. His wife Marilyn wants more than anything to be different from her mother so she picks James, a Chinese American professor. Lydia wants her mothers love and vows to do anything to get it. And Nath wants a version of what his father wants, acceptance. Each of them get exactly what they wanted but at a price. For some a tragic one. It doesn’t take long for each family member to realize that what they initially wanted wasn’t at all what they needed. It only isolated them instead of bringing them closer. And ended up culminated in tragedy.
I’m not sure if it was because this book was so hyped and I had such high expectations or if the book simply proffered itself as one thing and was something entirely different, but it took me awhile to begin enjoying this one. There were so many parallel’s to different books that it felt this was at first a retelling.
But once the author found her groove and hit the right note the book really did make me feel the emotions of the characters, especially Lydia. But it took her awhile. Each character is, in their own way, horrible and human. And it’s not until you really delve in the book that you see what drives them to do what they do.
Overall, this book wasn’t my favorite so far and that’s hard for me to say. I wanted to like this book so much more, but I just couldn’t get into it or shake the feeling of dejavu for the longest time.
Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015! A hint, it’s going to be a funny book next. Happy reading!