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Little Fires Everywhere

Written by: Celeste Ng
Narrated by: Jennifer Lim
Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (692 ratings)

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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, September 2017

I loved Celeste Ng's Everything I Never Told You, so when I found out she was releasing a new novel, I immediately called dibs on the advance copy (sorry team!). Little Fires Everywhere is set in an idyllic town in Ohio in the '90s. We're introduced to Elena, the matriarch of the Richardson family - a picture-perfect family with strong ties to the community. When Mia, a struggling artist, and her 15-year-old daughter move in to one of the split houses the Richardsons own, an infatuation (or you could call it an obsession) develops between the two families, and the line between the tenant-landlord relationship is crossed. Narrator Jennifer Lim makes her Audible debut with Little Fires Everywhere, and I can’t wait to hear what she does next. —Laura, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

The runaway New York Times best seller! 

Named a Best Book of the Year by: 

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! 

"I read Little Fires Everywhere in a single, breathless sitting." (Jodi Picoult)

“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)

“I am loving Little Fires Everywhere. Maybe my favorite novel I've read this year.” (John Green)

From the best-selling 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. 

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. 

Perfect for book clubs! Visit celesteng.com for discussion guides and more.

©2017 Celeste Ng (P)2017 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"Witty, wise, and tender. It's a marvel." (Paula Hawkins, New York Times best-selling author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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Just drags on and on

It's not a bad story, a thought provoking concept and a plethora of symbolism, but they're diluted by the fact that the story just keeps hitting you over the head with them over and over again.
A lot of the novel is drawn out a lot more than it needs to be, so much so that it just gets boring. The story doesn't even start to get interesting until a quarter of the way through, and it has one of the least satisfying endings I've come across.

If you like overly dramatic stories about philosophical discussions towards motherhood, go for it, but if not, save your money for something else, because you'll get bored pretty quick. Not sure why this is so highly rated, but oh well. At least the reader was good.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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it's like Jerry springer in a novel

worst book ever. no writing style took 10 chapters to setup the main story and the ending is shit. like an episode of Jerry springer strached 21 chapters. do not buy. I want my money back. Bad Asian accent(I am Asian).

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • CRA
  • 2019-03-14

Did not enjoy.

I found the book too slow. I got to chapter 7 and had to return it for a refund.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Okay

Found it a bit too slow, with many parentheses and side explanations/descriptions that didn't seem to add that much to the main story. About half way through it developed a couple concomitant intrigues/ dilemmas but they weren't groundbreaking and didn't seem to impact the finale or main characters that much. If you are looking for a mistery/thriller (like I was), I would not recommend this one. If you are looking for a light, middle class, suburban, family drama with a lot of emphasis on mother/child theme, you may enjoy this.

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A Web of Stories

I enjoyed this book because I came to know each character intimately and as the plot unfolded, learned how each of their life experiences then affected their responses to others around them. The book is like a web of individual stories that explain the outcome of first scene in the book. Well read and hard to put down.

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    2 out of 5 stars

paper dolls

The characters in this novel are cut from the paper doll writing class, although there is here and there) hope of their entering a third dimension . I found that there were too many life stories to learn, most of them offered nothing to the reader as far as character development, insight into ethics, moral beliefs, actions which could enrich the paper dolls. Despite these flaws, I did listen for hours at a time. The reader did a wonderful job, I did become attached to a couple of the characters and was curious where or when they would be put.

p.s. perfect story ending for a sequel !!




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I gave up....

This is the first book I reviewed poorly for a year. Unfortunately it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t finish it because I felt like it dragged on. I was about half way through when I thought, nothing has happened yet ! I feel nothing interesting was ever going to happen. I gave up.

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took a while to get into it but...

Took me a while to get into but glad I pushed through. this book touches down on many subjects including adoption, abortions, family, betrayal, photography .... well performed too.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I want to listen to it all over again!!!

I didn't want to stop listening and as it came to an end I was truly saddened. I can see myself listening to this book multiple times. such a great story and narrator. I LOVED IT!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Where’s the ending?

The story skipped a few times which was annoying but my biggest issue was that I didn’t realize the ending was the end...just as the story started to become really interesting and so many possibilities of endings came to mind, it ended. Just like that. This book is definitely over hyped and not worth the time commited to listening.

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  • M. Ryder
  • 2017-10-05

Boring and Drawn Out!!!

Kept falling asleep while listening, but was determined to finish it, especially due to all the hype over this audiobook. The story never got any better, and the ending was ridiculous! Really wish I could understand why there are so many great reviews. What are people seeing, that I just don't? As for the narration, J.L. did a pretty good job of performing each of the characters, though she did not use different voices or inflections for them. She basically used the same voice during the whole story. Sadly, I would definitely recommend passing this one up, and not wasting your time on it. 👎🏼

617 of 681 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Elese Newman
  • 2018-06-03

Some fire, a little ice

Little Fires is a well written book that is beautifully narrated. The story flows, most of the characters develop in meaningful ways, and the reader/listener is challenged to consider some hefty issues without weighing down the process. For me personally, what kept this from being a five star story is that Celeste Ng draws some conclusions that I disagree with. I think it would have made a better story if she had left it to the reader to draw their own conclusions. And I think it would be interesting to know if, after 30 more years of living, she would write it differently.

24 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Jamie L McHenry
  • 2018-08-28

Bored!

I only got to chapter 15 and was partially confused by the many characters and backstories, and mostly bored. I was really hoping to like this book as it got such good reviews but I found the narrator kind of childish in her talk and I just could not get myself into the story.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-06-25

I kept Waiting for it to get good...it never did.

I don't really understand the point of this book. It followed many different characters which I have found I am not a fan of. I like books that follow a main character but regardless of that, this book I found, didn't really have a point. I was bored throughout the book but finished it hoping it would get better or all the story lines would somehow come to this awesome ending...I was sadly disappointed. It was predictable and didn't leave me wanting more. I would pass on this one.

41 of 46 people found this review helpful

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  • Sara
  • 2017-10-09

Let Me Stop You Right There

To me, this book was written by an author who believes that her listeners are as thick as two planks. Further, the tone of the narrator adds to the unbelievably slick and condescending flavor of the whole package. Everything is so slowly drawn out and hammered down that there is no room for any personal thought or feelings the reader might dare to have. I'm bored. Are we there yet?

455 of 526 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Robin Cohen
  • 2017-10-17

little epiphanies everywhere

Another thoughtful and thought-provoking book by Celeste Ng. I loved her first book, and didn't imagine that this one could be as good, but it is. This is a sensitive and nuanced look at motherhood, social class and race. She does not let her characters or her plot off with easy answers, or with good guys and bad guys. Even though each character seems to be somewhat of a "type" initially, as the narrative deepens we see how multifaceted each participant in this story is and I found myself feeling more and more empathy for each of them as the story developed. Lovely and evocative book that I didn't want to end. I listened to this as an audiobook (from Audible) and thought the narrator was perfect.

100 of 115 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Kellikellibobelli
  • 2019-06-09

Should be classified as YA

Disappointing at a minimum. Unlikable and unrelateable characters driven by a plot that tries so hard to be relevant and compelling, but falls very short of either. The author did no research on any of the medical or social or legal situations in the plotline, so every bit of it is unbelievable. Lazy stuff. Returning this one.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Michelle Marcell
  • 2017-10-26

Out of Focus

Reminded me much of The Nest. Where the entire book talk about random life facts of the characters without much passion or meaning. True, characters go thru traumatic experiences, but nothing reliable or meant to connect with the reader/listener. The story (or many different stories) did not touch my heart, or made me smile, or cry, nor excite. It was simply a story of the life of different families and their struggles. Not even sure why this is a best seller. Good books are supposed to ignite unexpected feelings for its reader, keep you excited and passionate about its characters, and leave you wanting more.

76 of 91 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Dana
  • 2018-07-11

Just OK

First 3/4 of the book is mind numbingly slow. I very nearly gave up but wanted to just see if it could redeem itself. The end was good, if a little cliche. Narrator is just OK, a little to "chipper" at times that I would have read as more serious.

22 of 26 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Julie
  • 2018-02-24

Like yarn unspooling into a tangled pile

At the start of the story, Ng presents you, the reader, with a pile of tangled, messy yarn, making you wonder how it could have ended up this way. Then she takes you back and sets each of the characters before you, like neatly wound balls of yarn. Over the course of the story, she steadily and deliberately unspools each ball until you reach the end and realize this is not just some tangled mess, but a colorful, complicated design that could not have turned out any other way.
I appreciated how the characters came to life, each imperfect in his or her own way, and how there was no simple right or wrong answer to each conflict that arose. Ng’s descriptions of the art and photography throughout the novel was also so evocative, I felt like I could truly see and understand not just the art itself, but the artist.
This is not the type of book that has you feverishly turning pages. Rather, it is a book where the author ties a piece of yarn around you and steadily pulls you forward, page by page, until before you know it, you’ve reached the inevitable, yet satisfying conclusion.
The narrator is also terrific.

49 of 59 people found this review helpful