Book Review: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng

After 5 or so days of no reading, I decided to abandon all review copies and pick up a book I’ve been wanting to read for ages, and I’m so glad I did. It was just the read I needed, and I had so much fun buddy reading it with Eva @ Novel Deelights.


Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down. 

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 principal 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 is literary gold, extremely well-written, an absorbing tale exploring community and family ties, in particular motherhood – decisions about readiness for motherhood and exploring what it means it be a mother.

The pace is slow, but in an absorbing way, as you learn about Mia’s life and all that occurs in Shaker Heights, you’re wary of this stepford wives-esque community but so interested in the lives of these residents. This novel promotes great discussion, and it is highly thought provoking, as you wonder who should win the custody case. While I loved all the different strands to this story, any that featured Izzie were my favourite, from the offset, I found her to be an interesting character, she was my favourite of the novel, closely followed by Mia.

I’m purposely not talking about the events that occurred in the novel as the blurb is quite lengthy and tells you all you need to know prior to reading. All I’ll say is the ending is quite open, so if you’re looking for every question answered, you may not feel complete closure as you turn the last page. For me, I really wanted to see some characters get their comeuppance and see a stronger fall-out from it – right, that’s all I’ll say on that.

What I really came to love about this novel was its subtlety, the writing is never in your face, but it quietly demands your attention. Ng has penned a character-driven tale that I highly recommend; the writing is at times witty, always engaging, beautiful and just a pleasure to read.

Still need convincing, checkout out Eva’s review.

This book is available to buy from: Amazon UK / Book Depository

37 thoughts on “Book Review: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

    1. Thank you, Danielle, it certainly helps when you’re reading with an amazing person! If we match up on any books on our TBR, I’d love to buddy read a book with you 🙂 …oh, I loved Little Fires Everywhere so much more than I thought I would, a quiet yet powerful book!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’ve put off buying this one every time I’ve seen it because I’ve been worrying that I won’t like it, but now I’m more tempted! Lovely review 🌻

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely review, Janel! This was my favorite book of 2017 and I taught it this past semester in my university Contemporary Literature class, which was so much fun. I’ve been teaching Ng’s novel Everything I Never Told You in the same class for the past 4 years (until I changed it up to Little Fires 😉 ), and I love that one so much (perhaps more than this one. She is such an extraordinary writer and you captured the novel so magnificently in your review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awh thank you, and wow, that’s so cool that you get to pick the literary fiction you teach, I would love to join that class!! I definitely plan to read Everything I Never Told You because I need to experience more of her writing 🙌🏾


      1. You’re welcome! I’m very lucky to be able to pick my own curriculum for both my Contemporary Literature and Interpreting Literature classes (English dept head approval of course 😉) but for my regular British Lit class, it’s written in stone that I have to teach traditional canon…Beowulf, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Milton, Donne, etc you know…no veering off course!! So I love, love the freedom of those other 2 classes to explore what I like and give the students exposure to books they otherwise might not read (as much as I love traditional lit). You’d be welcome in my class anytime! 😘 You’ll love Everything I Never Told You!! 👍

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This book’s been on my radar for a little while and I keep seeing it pop up in my blog feeds, but your review is the first that’s given me an idea of what it’s about and piqued my interest! Adding it to my TBR ^_^

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you found my review helpful! And I hope you enjoy it when you get around to reading it. I’m quite looking forward to the tv adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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