Little Fires Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere

A Novel

eBook - 2017
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The #1 New York Times bestseller!
Now a Hulu original series starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.

“I read Little Fires Everywhere in a single, breathless sitting.” —Jodi Picoult
“To say I love this book is an understatement. It’s a deep psychological mystery about the power of motherhood, the intensity of teenage love, and the danger of perfection. It moved me to tears.” —Reese Witherspoon
“Extraordinary . . . books like Little Fires Everywhere don't come along often.” —John Green

From the bestselling 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 teenaged 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.

Named a Best Book of the Year by: People, The Washington Post, Bustle, Esquire, Southern Living, The Daily Beast, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Audible, Goodreads, Library Reads, Book of the Month, PasteKirkus ReviewsSt. Louis Post-Dispatch, and many more...

Perfect for book clubs! Visit celesteng.com for discussion guides and more. 
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

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JCLKelseyR Oct 02, 2020

A wonderful book about how gossip and rumors spread, and that not everyone is exactly who you think they are. As the title implies, I felt like this story left several loose ends and didn't "wrap up" as nicely as my anxious self would have liked. I have not seen the tv show based on the book, however, now I would like to and see how they compare.

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kwsmith
Sep 28, 2020

This is a fascinating slow paced tale about two very different families brought together by their children. The story revolves around casual racism in wealthy suburban Ohio, but the sometimes-tense relationships between family members is a huge part of the drama. The writing is excellent and the story is packed with realistic emotion. The book explores what it means to be a mother, and how mothers affect their daughters. While burning the cherished family home to the ground, this book reminds us that sometimes there are no perfect answers, even for those of us who follow all the right rules.

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Cidherman
Sep 26, 2020

I loved LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE. The story makes use of one of my favorite plot devises, which is to fully bring to life the interconnectedness of human beings and how our actions ripple outward and have the potential to change others in unintended, but sometimes very significant ways. That life force, which changes those around us is never more apparent, or on display than in Ng's beautiful, deeply moving story LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE. This simple, far reaching human-charged energy carries the story and brings to life all of the Ng's characters, rendering them both realistic and relatable.

I grew up next door to a family much like the Richardson's. They were wealthy, fun, distracted, unconventional and extremely generous in opening their home and their hearts to the many neighborhood children and the friends of their own children. We came and went as we pleased, they fed us, took us skiing, camping, and always made us feel welcome, almost like a part of the family. Pearl and Mia have moved 40 times in Pearl's 15 years. When Pearl meets the Richardsons, she finds a kinship and stability, she never even knew she had been craving.

Even as Pearl becomes a fixture at the Richardson's, Izzy the Richardson's youngest child, the families black sheep, latches on to Pearl's Mom, Mia, with a ferocity no one but Mia can understand. All of the people in LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE are good people, just doing the best they can. When rigid ideas of right and wrong conflict, everything changes for both families, in a matter of hours. It may be true, that sometimes you don't know what you have until it's good and truly gone.

Don't pass on an opportunity to read this beautiful story. If you are tired of reading books with characters you can't stand, LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE is the antidote.

s
spudwil
Sep 08, 2020

I expected to like this book more than I did, given all the positive reviews. I didn't think the plot line was well-constructed, and I felt much of it was implausible and unrealistic. Having said that, it's a quick read and a somewhat interesting story.

k
kathleenmoyer1
Sep 03, 2020

The title was "catchy".

e
esrobbins
Aug 18, 2020

Really enjoyed this book. There is so much to think about: the fires in our life, what it means to be a mother, what is right vs what is wrong, class and race . . . so many layers. This book is deep! I also loved that it was about characters who are teens during the same time period when I was a teen. It brought back memories of what was going on in the world, TV shows that were popular at the time . . .

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karyn8787
Jul 31, 2020

Little Fires Everywhere tells the story of the Richardsons; a wealthy, privileged, picture-perfect suburban family; and the Warrens, the exact opposite. The story takes place in Shaker Heights, a suburban community taken to the extreme where everything must be perfect. Now enter Mia and Pearl Warren, a single mother and her daughter who disrupt the peace and status quo that exists in Shaker. The main portion of the story explores the tumultuous relationship between Mia Warren and Elena Richardson, the matriarch of the Richardson household. However, an equally intriguing storyline is explored regarding the fate of an adoption of an American born Chinese baby by a white couple. While these premises seem simple at first, Ng fills the novels with twists and turns you could never expect and makes it near impossible to put the book down.
I can't stress enough how much I LOVED this book. To be honest, I think I am on my third or fourth reread of this book and I still discover new details every time. This novel makes you question your beliefs about motherhood and what determines right and wrong in such morally ambiguous situations. Furthermore, the story still captures the experience of a teenager growing up and the constant societal and peer pressure put on you to conform. The experiences of the children in the story make a beautiful story in itself. In reality, this novel is multiple stories stitched together and interwoven to create a book that is equally gripping, heart-breaking, and provocative. As I mentioned above, this story is filled with plot twists that you will never expect and will keep you at the very edge of your seat. Little Fires Everywhere is a must-read and I highly recommend it to everyone.

k
kaitoryn
Jul 24, 2020

Rather than focusing entirely on what's to come next in its plot, Little Fires Everywhere places just as much emphasis on uncovering the past. (Technically, one could say that everything in the plot is in the past, since Ng introduces readers to the story at its end.) Yet, by "past", I'm referring to the histories of the characters--their backgrounds, childhoods, career journeys, or basically everything that has molded them into the people they are now. Ng strengthens the story with these anecdotes, allowing the readers to fully grasp the complexities of her characters and comprehend the reasoning behind their actions. By doing so, there is an ambiguity in which no character appears as completely good or bad, thus bringing light to the realistic intricacies of the story's topics, such as motherhood.
I also enjoyed how Ng highlights the massive influence of parenting on a child's life and beyond into adulthood. This idea is seen through the behaviors of the adults and the children in the story, and they can be distinguished as those who remain in the tight grasp of their upbringing, or those who eventually break free.
However, I ended up being slightly disappointed with the ending, as I was left wanting for more closure. The ending felt too abrupt, and I had incorrectly expected the children to have some sort of significant involvement in it. While I was a bit let down, I resorted to the conclusion that the author had purposely left the ending in this way. Like how Mia and Pearl abruptly left Shaker Heights, we, as the readers, similarly abandon this story comprised of the past to further stress the idea that only ashes remain, and that there is no resolution but for the characters to start anew.

k
kleesiebels
Jul 15, 2020

reminded me of old roommate from Shaker Heights in Cleveland.

j
JankaManka
Jul 09, 2020

A novel about hypocrisy, convenience and conviction that what is right for you just MUST be right for anyone else. But, sometimes, the ugly truth prevails... There are two heroines - one lives a convenient, straightforward life of middle class. Very soon she falls in the trap of believing that if you live "right", and under certain rules which are "generally known and respected", if you can defer wrong from right, nothing can happen to you or your beloved ones and you deserve anything your heart desires. The other one has a different, but much fuller life, and stirs established family conditions of the well-off first heroine. However, I did not like the end. The middle-class heroine, after a family disaster, suddenly starts to see through and decides to change. A heartbreaking, complex story.

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Quotes

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a
ambdizzle
Aug 23, 2019

If a soul could leave a body, she thought, this is the sound it would make: like the screech of a nail being pulled from old wood.

t
TheresaAJ
May 07, 2019

"But the problem with rules, he reflected, was that they implied a right way and a wrong way to do things. When, in fact, most of the time there were simply ways, none of them quite wrong or quite right, and nothing to tell you for sure which side of the line you stood on."

t
TheresaAJ
May 07, 2019

"Like after a prairie fire. I saw one, years ago, when we were in Nebraska. It seems like the end of the world. The earth is all scorched and black and everything green is gone. But after the burning the soil is richer and new things can grow."

TheBookWitch Apr 14, 2018

"To a parent, your child wasn't just a person: your child was a place, a kind of Narnia, a vast eternal place where the present you were living and the past you remembered and the future you longed for all existed at once. You could see it every time you looked at her: layered in her face was the baby she'd been and the child she'd become and the adult she would grow up to be, and you saw them all simultaneously, like a 3-D image. It made your head spin. It was a place you could take refuge, if you knew how to get in. And each time you left it, each time your child passed out of your sight, you feared you might never be able to return to that place again." p. 122

ArapahoeMaryA Mar 15, 2018

Sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground, and start over. After the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too. They start over. They find a way.

c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2018

“…his life had been divided into a before and an after, and he would always be comparing the two.” - p. 21

c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2018

“All her life, she had learned that passion, like fire, was a dangerous thing. It so easily went out of control. It scaled walls and jumped over trenches. Sparks leapt like fleas and spread as rapidly; a breeze could carry embers for miles. Better to control that spark and pass it carefully from one generation to the next, like an Olympic torch. Or, perhaps, to tend it carefully like an eternal flame; a reminder of light and goodness that would never - could never - set anything ablaze. Carefully controlled. Domesticated. Happy in captivity. The key, she thought, was to avoid conflagration.” - p. 161

c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2018

“Rules existed for a reason: if you followed them, you would succeed; if you didn't, you might burn the world to the ground.” - p. 161

c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2018

“One had followed the rules, and one had not. But the problem with rules... was that they implied a right way and a wrong way to do things. When, in fact, most of the time they were simply ways, none of them quite wrong or quite right, and nothing to tell you for sure what side of the line you stood on.” - p. 269

c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2018

“Sometimes, just when you think everything’s gone, you find a way… Like after a prairie fire… It seems like the end of the world. The earth is all scorched and black and everything green is gone. But after the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow… People are like that, too, you know. They start over. They find a way.” - p. 295

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karyn8787
Jul 31, 2020

karyn8787 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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Kristen MERKE
Mar 25, 2019

Kristen MERKE thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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coxkelsey72
Feb 27, 2019

coxkelsey72 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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Mya614
Mar 04, 2018

Mya614 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Notices

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coxkelsey72
Feb 27, 2019

Sexual Content: Teenage encounters, abortion

c
coxkelsey72
Feb 27, 2019

Coarse Language: Mild swearing

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