Little Fires Everywhere is the perfect, albeit unconventional, summer read

Spend the rest of your summer getting to know the residents of Shaker Heights

Image courtesy of Penguin Press

Written by:Samantha Manalac

With summer winding down, there’s only a little bit of time left to get the last of your summer reading done. If you’re still looking for a book to fill that void, this might be the one for you. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng is a character study with a fast-moving plot and a whole lot of depth. Maybe not the summer read you’re used to, but once you start, you won’t want to put it down.

     The book deals with weighty topics like race, class structure, and the true selfishness behind altruism. It keeps you guessing and leaves you with an ending that you’re sure to be thinking about for days after you’ve finished it.

     The story is set in Shaker Heights, a small suburban town in Cleveland that is founded on an obsession with being picture perfect. It follows the lives of two extremely different families that become inexplicably intertwined. The Richardsons are a cookie-cutter example of the ideal family when they meet the Warrens, a single mom with a mysterious past and her beautiful daughter.

     We get a glimpse into several character perspectives throughout the novel, but it never feels contrived. Each person’s perspective arms you with the backstory you need to understand them and their behaviour as the story unfolds.

     This novel doesn’t drag like a story sometimes does when you spend most of the time in the characters’ heads. Instead, the characters are thoroughly fleshed out through a plot filled with twists and turns. This, to me, is the best part of the book. By the end of it, you feel like you’ve spent a year with two families and come to know them yourself.