Rating: 3/5 stars
Length: 338 pages
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction
Publication date: September 12, 2017
“… She knew she couldn’t handle things.” Mia scribbled a hasty note in the corner of her drawing. “The question is whether things are still the same. Whether she should get another chance.”
“And do you think she should?”
Mia did not answer for a moment. Then she said, “Most of the time, everyone deserves more than one chance. We all do things we regret now and then, you just have to carry them with you.”
Elena Richardson embodies the rule following nature of Shaker Heights, a progressive suburb of Cleveland. When Mia Warren – enigmatic artist and single mother to a teenage girl – rents a house from the Richardsons, 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. When an old family friend attempts to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that drastically devised the town and leaves Elena and Mia on opposite sides of the divide.
Asian Readathon Challenges Met:
1. Read a book written by an Asian author: Ng is of Chinese decent.
4. Read a book recommended by an Asian: as this was the group book of the Readathon, it was suggested by Cindy in her 2020 Asian Readathon announcement video.
5. *OPTIONAL* Read “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng and participate in the 7#LittleFiresReadalong and #LittleFiresWatchalong (more information below)
First and foremost, I learned that this book was not for me. I can understand its merit, but it is not the kind of book that I find myself falling into. It might be because Contemporary books aren’t my usual go to that I had a harder time connecting with this story, but I find myself pulling away from this idea as I’ve read Contemporary books that I’ve fallen in love with.
The characters felt real enough and the problems they faced were serious, yet I still didn’t find myself falling in love with the world or the story. I could empathize with the events going on but I never felt pulled into the drama or a real tug on my heart strings.
That being said, I can completely understand why some people might love this story. While I easily fall head first into lands of magic and dragons, others find comfort in things more realistic. Closer to what they expect from real life. This story held notes of realism and dealt with issues that still exist today, roughly 20-30 years after the time this book was written in.
I find it hard to explain why I felt so detached from this story without going into spoilers, so I’ll leave the spoiler free section here. If you want to read my in depth feelings about the story, continue on to the spoiler section below.