Synopsis: (as told by the back of the book)
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 teenage 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.
I enjoyed this book, plain and simple. I didn’t anticipate the mystery aspect of it but I was completely sucked in. I found the characters to be complex and relatable – everyone from the youngest Richardson child to the parents. Something about this story just struck a chord with me. I didn’t know this was the kind of book I was in the mood for until it was.
I appreciate authors who can depict teenage relationships honestly without oversimplifying. It’s a fine line to walk – too aloof and the reader won’t connect, too much and it comes off as fake, too much like the stereotypical teenage relationship.
If you’re looking for a fall novel that speaks simultaneously on an intimate level and a larger scale, I’d recommend this one.
Interested in this book? Buy it here on Amazon or find it at your local bookstore.
Little Fires Everywhere was written by Celeste Ng and published by Penguin Press in 2017.