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  New York Times Review

LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE, by Celeste Ng. (Penguin Press, $27.) The magic of Ng's second novel, which opens with arson and centers on an interracial adoption, lies in its power to implicate every character - and likely many readers - in the innocent delusion that "no one sees race here." DEFIANCE: The Extraordinary Life of Lady Anne Barnard, by Stephen Taylor. (Norton, $28.95.) Over the course of Taylor's biography, a picture emerges of Lady Anne Barnard as a cleareyed yet self-doubting woman determined to live life on her own terms even as she worried about her right to set those terms. AT THE STRANGERS' GATE: Arrivals in New York, by Adam Gopnik. (Knopf, $26.95.) In his new memoir, Gopnik recalls the decade after he and his soon-to-be wife moved from Montreal to New York, in 1980. Always the elegant stylist, he effortlessly weaves in the city's cultural history, tracing his path from graduate student in art history to staff writer for The New Yorker. HOME FIRE, by Kamila Shamsie. (Riverhead, $26.) In a challenging and engrossing novel full of tiny but resonant details, two families find their fates entwined when a young man travels to Syria to join ISIS, following in the steps of the jihadist father he never really knew. BLUEBIRD, BLUEBIRD, by Attica Locke. (Mulholland/ Little, Brown, $26.) This murder mystery follows Darren Matthews, a black Texas Ranger, as he tries to solve a dual killing in a small town full of zany characters, buried feelings and betrayals that go back generations. THE STONE SKY: The Broken Earth: Book Three, by N. K. Jemisin. (Orbit, paper, $16.99.) Jemisin, who writes the Book Review's Otherworldly column about science fiction and fantasy, won a Hugo Award for each of the first two novels in her Broken Earth trilogy. In the extraordinary conclusion, a mother and daughter do geologic battle for the fate of the earth. AUTUMN, by Karl Ove Knausgaard. Translated by Ingvild Burkey. (Penguin Press, $27.) In this collection of finely honed miniature essays, the first of a planned quartet based on the seasons, the Norwegian author of the multi-volume novel "My Struggle" describes the world for his unborn child. AFTERGLOW (A Dog Memoir), by Eileen Myles. (Grove, $24.) Myles, the poet and autobiographical novelist, turns her attention to the role her dog Rosie played in her life and art. ONE NATION AFTER TRUMP: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet-Deported, by E. J. Dionne Jr., Norman J. Ornstein and Thomas E. Mann. (St. Martin's, $25.99.) Seasoned Washington observers examine how Donald Trump's rise reflects long-term Republican trends. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web: nytimes.com/books

  Library Journal Review

Ng's engrossing sophomore novel explores, in gorgeous prose, themes of class, racial identity, and motherhood. An omniscient narrator slowly reveals the characters who inhabit Ng's real-life hometown of Shaker Heights, OH, a planned community near Cleveland, whose genuinely well--intentioned residents are not shy about proclaiming how socially progressive they are. The wealthy Richardson family embodies the Shaker Heights ideal. Elena Richardson abandoned her dream of being a serious journalist (she now writes puff pieces for the community paper) because that's what she thought she should do to create a well-ordered world for her four children and attorney husband. Her comfortable suburban utopia is threatened, however, when Mia, a free-spirited artist, and her teenage daughter, Pearl, settle into the Richardson's rental property after years of drifting around the country. After Pearl is befriended by the Richardson children, Elena offers Mia a job as their housekeeper under the guise of "helping" this single mom, but she really wants to learn more about the mysterious outsiders. The gloves come off, however, when Elena learns of Mia's role in an ugly custody battle that is dividing her beloved community and cracking its idealistic veneer. Jennifer Lim gracefully and authentically acts as Ng's omniscient narrator, hopping around town, divulging characters' secrets but also evoking empathy for these characters who are just trying to do what they think is right. VERDICT Well suited for audio, Ng's gem will please fans and captivate listeners new to her work. ["A magnificent, multilayered epic that's perfect for eager readers": LJ 6/1/17 starred review of the Penguin Pr. hc.]-Beth Farrell, Cleveland State Univ. Law Lib. © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Shaker Heights, Ohio, is a by-the-books kind of town. Longtime residents know the well-established rules of conduct. Newcomers, such as itinerant artist Mia Warren and her teenage daughter, Pearl, must find out for themselves what is acceptable and what is not. Renting an apartment from city-native Elena Richardson should give Mia and Pearl a leg up. Instead, it throws them into the midst of a fraught custody battle concerning a Chinese American baby; engenders fierce rivalries between brothers Moody and Trip Richardson for Pearl's attention; and casts Mia as the unlikely confidant of the Richardson daughters, popular Lexie and outcast Izzy. There are secrets upon secrets within the families: Mia's past is hidden from Pearl, just as Pearl conceals her love affair with Trip. Lexie's abortion must be kept from her family, while only Izzy knows the subterfuge her mother is using to undermine Mia and Pearl's happiness. Ng's stunning second novel is a multilayered examination of how identities are forged and maintained, how families are formed and friendships tested, and how the notion of motherhood is far more fluid than bloodlines would suggest. Ng's debut, Everything I Never Told You (2015), was a book-group staple. Laden with themes of loyalty and betrayal, honesty and trust, her latest tour de force should prove no less popular.--Haggas, Carol Copyright 2017 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

This incandescent portrait of suburbia and family, creativity, and consumerism burns bright.It's not for nothing that Ng (Everything I Never Told You, 2014) begins her second novel, about the events leading to the burning of the home of an outwardly perfect-seeming family in Shaker Heights, Ohio, circa 1997, with two epigraphs about the planned community itselfattesting to its ability to provide its residents with "protection forever againstunwelcome change" and "a rather happy life" in Utopia. But unwelcome change is precisely what disrupts the Richardson family's rather happy life, when Mia, a charismatic, somewhat mysterious artist, and her smart, shy 15-year-old daughter, Pearl, move to town and become tenants in a rental house Mrs. Richardson inherited from her parents. Mia and Pearl live a markedly different life from the Richardsons, an affluent couple and their four high school-age childrenmaking art instead of money (apart from what little they need to get by); rooted in each other rather than a particular place (packing up what fits in their battered VW and moving on when "the bug" hits); and assembling a hodgepodge home from creatively repurposed, scavenged castoffs and love rather than gathering around them the symbols of a successful life in the American suburbs (a big house, a large family, gleaming appliances, chic clothes, many cars). What really sets Mia and Pearl apart and sets in motion the events leading to the "little fires everywhere" that will consume the Richardsons' secure, stable world, however, is the way they hew to their own rules. In a place like Shaker Heights, a town built on plans and rules, and for a family like the Richardsons, who have structured their lives according to them, disdain for conformity acts as an accelerant, setting fire to the dormant sparks within them. The ultimate effect is cataclysmic. As in Everything I Never Told You, Ng conjures a sense of place and displacement and shows a remarkable ability to seeand reveala story from different perspectives. The characters she creates here are wonderfully appealing, and watching their paths connectlike little trails of flame leading inexorably toward one another to create a big infernois mesmerizing, casting into new light ideas about creativity and consumerism, parenthood and privilege. With her second novel, Ng further proves she's a sensitive, insightful writer with a striking ability to illuminate life in America. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
The #1 New York Times bestseller!<br> <br> Soon to be a Hulu limited series starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.<br> <br> Named a Best Book of the Year by: <br> 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, Paste , Kirkus Reviews , St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and many more...<br> <br> " I read Little Fires Everywhere in a single, breathless sitting. " -- Jodi Picoult<br> <br> "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<br> <br> "Extraordinary . . . books like Little Fires Everywhere don't come along often. " --John Green<br> <br> 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.<br> <br> 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.<br> <br> 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.<br> <br> 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.<br> <br> 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.<br> <br> Perfect for book clubs! Visit celesteng.com for discussion guides and more.
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