REVIEW: Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng

Shaker Heights is the perfect place to live. The whole town has been specially designed for a perfect way of life. Neat houses, brilliant school. Everything has a shiny exterior, but beneath the surface is something more, something hidden.

Little Fires Everywhere begins with a house fire, apparently started by one of the girls who live in that house. The book then spins backwards several months to the arrival of Mia Warren and her daughter, Pearl. They are artistic, bohemian and very different to anyone else living in Shaker Heights. But how does the arrival of this unusual family connect to the fire which will be started those several months later?

There has been a lot of buzz about Little Fires Everywhere and sometimes I feel sorry for books that I read with a preconceived expectation of greatness. Those books you pick at random and happen to be a hidden gem have a greater chance of capturing my heart.

But this book lives up to its hype.

There is a huge array of characters, all with their own complex needs, desires and secrets. The author, Celeste Ng actually grew up in Shaker Heights and it shows, she knows the town so well it feels real. Every hidden street, social hotspot and school are writing with vivid reality. I felt as though while reading the book, I was visiting Shaker Heights for the summer.

There are many twists and turns to this book – it’s really not the book I expected from the blurb, it’s even better.

I loved this book so much I would happily read it a second time. In fact when I closed it for the final time, I was tempted to go back to the beginning and start reading it all over again. It’s definitely not very often that that happens!

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