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Little Fires Everywhere

May 20, 2019

Happy Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month! To celebrate, let me share with you one of my all-time favorite novels.


About two months ago, one of my friends asked me if I had read Little Fires Everywhere. "You have to read it," she said. "I need someone to have read it." I'll admit, I was a little hesitant at first. For the past two years, I've read exclusively YA and Juvenile fiction or humor essays, as I was burnt out on adult fiction. Sure, I would try and pick up the latest must-read, but it was too slow or too pretentious. But then I cracked open Little Fires Everywhere, and I was hooked from the start.

The story is pretty simple. It follows the Richardsons, a suburban family living in the idyllic town of Shaker Heights. When Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl arrive in town, the Richardson children are immediately drawn to the pair and their nomadic lifestyle. Trouble starts to brew, and the novel's main issue arises when a family friend of the Richardsons tries to adopt a Chinese-American baby. A custody battle ensues, capturing the entire town's attention and dividing the Richardson siblings even more. The tension between the Richardsons and Mia escalates, and it keeps you reading 'til the very end.

I've never read a book written like this one. Ng's writing feels so effortless, but at the same time, you know that an incredible amount of work went into making the story flow so well. The only way I can describe it is that it reads like a stream, one moment leading into the next with ease. No scene is forced, characters drive the action, and when it's all over, you're left wanting more of this beautiful, aching writing. If you've been wondering what to read next, look no further. Little Fires Everywhere is the perfect start to your summer reading.

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Emily is the Branch Services Specialist at the Main Library. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, hiking, and playing with her dog, Fern.