Synopsis (from Goodreads):
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours 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 just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When the Richardsons’ friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family – and Mia’s.
Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood-and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak.
Once again, Ng has created a world where selfishness rules and we watch as it leads to the unraveling of lives. I walked away from her first novel, Everything I Never Told You, with this unexpected ache in my chest that reappeared by the end of Little Fires Everywhere. It was devastating, watching as the selfishness kept some characters safely within their bubbles while it slowly chipped away at the walls of others. I don’t think any of them learned a lesson from anything that happened in the book, and I’m certain they all continued to protect their bubbles and lived “happily ever after”.
Despite how horribly negative this all sounds so far, I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed how intimately I was able to get to know the characters, even if I didn’t like them. And I enjoyed watching these personalities play off of and against one another. It was absolutely fascinating watching this group of people come together and use each other to their personal advantage.
If you’re a reader who loves reading character-driven plotlines, I recommend adding Little Fires Everywhere to your reading list.
Highly recommend. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Book stats: Hardcover, 352 pages, Penguin Press, September 12, 2017