30 Authors in 30 Days: Jean Kwok on Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You

September 22, 2014 Uncategorized 12

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Today, I’m excited to share with you a book recommendation from author Jean Kwok as part of 30 Authors in 30 Days. Here’s what the event is all about:

30 Authors in 30 Days is a first of its kind event aimed at connecting readers, bloggers, and authors. Hosted by The Book Wheel, this month-long event takes place during September and features 30 authors discussing their favorite recent reads on 30 different blogs. There are also some great prizes provided by GoneReading.com and BookJigs. For the full schedule of participating authors and bloggers, visit The Book Wheel (http://www.thebookwheelblog.com/30-authors/) or join the Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/events/669563803136594/). You can also follow along on Twitter with the #30Authors hashtag!


downloadI always find it difficult when asked to recommend a book or author because there are so many books I love that it’s hard to choose. Also, since I am an author myself, it feels a bit like we’re in high school again, gossiping about who’s in the cool crowd and who isn’t. So I hesitated when asked to contribute to this “30 Authors in 30 Days” series. But I realized that although I might feel like I am doing a disservice to all of the wonderful authors I don’t mention, it’s also so important to spread the word about books worthy of love.

Celeste Ng’s debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, is one of these.  A few months before this debut novel was published, I received a lovely note from Celeste about my own work along with her editor’s request for me to consider writing a blurb for Celeste’s book. I was really intrigued by the premise of her book but the problem was that I had my second novel coming out at the same time and I was completely crazed. As I did publicity for my novel, Celeste and I kept crossing paths – mentioned in the same articles, invited to the same blogger events (like this one, which I didn’t realize until today), etc. It makes sense since we are both Asian American authors, Harvard grads and published by Penguin Random House. I kept telling myself I had to read her book, especially since I know how important it is to support promising debut authors.

A few weeks ago, I finally had a bit of time to breathe and picked up Celeste’s book. I couldn’t put it down. Everything I Never Told You is a literary thriller about mixed-race Amerasian Lydia Lee whose body is found at the bottom of a lake. As we shift between Lydia’s own story and her family’s theories about what led to her death, we are left with a moving, poignant portrait of a family struggling with secrets, love and unfulfilled expectations. Celeste Ng’s voice is filled with intelligence, warmth and compassion while her ability to keep us turning the pages is dazzling.

I’m so very glad that I finally read this wonderful book and am happy to spread the word about it here.


jeankwokbysigridestradaJean Kwok immigrated from Hong Kong to Brooklyn when she was five and worked in a Chinatown clothing factory for much of her childhood. In between her MFA in fiction at Columbia and undergraduate studies at Harvard, she worked for three years as a professional ballroom dancer for Fred Astaire Studios in New York City.

Her debut novel Girl in Translation was an award-winning New York Times bestseller, published in 17 countries and has been taught in universities, colleges and high schools across the world. Her second novel Mambo in Chinatown was released in June 2014 and is about a young woman torn between her family duties in Chinatown and her escape into the world of ballroom dancing. It has already been named a Best Book of 2014 by Woman’s Day and Real Simple.

Interested in Everything I Never Told You? You can learn about Celeste Ng by liking her on Facebook or following her on Twitter. Or, you can purchase the book now on Amazon or via Indiebound. You can also learn more about Jean Kwok by liking her on Facebook or following her on Twitter.


12 Responses to “30 Authors in 30 Days: Jean Kwok on Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You”

  1. Naomi

    I have enjoyed reading all these ’30 Authors in 30 Days posts’. I can’t wait to read Everything I never Told You- I have it on hold at the library. Now I have to look into Jean Kwok’s books, as well!

    • DoingDewey

      I actually haven’t read either of Everything I Never Told you or Jean Kwok’s books myself, but I feel like I have to now! I loved Jean’s review and think Everything I Never Told You sounds wonderful.

  2. Catherine

    Lucky you- two great authors and two amazing books! This event has been so wonderful- getting to read one author’s thoughts about another author’s work AND adding to my TBR list.

    • DoingDewey

      It’s true! I was really happy to host Jean and loved hearing about Celeste’s book. They both seem wonderful and I’ve added them both to my to-read list 🙂

  3. Allison @ The Book Wheel

    I LOVED Everything I Never Told You and Celeste Ng is the ONLY author to be both recommended AND recommending a book for this event, which is a pretty neat accomplishment. I highly recommend this one! Thanks for joining in!

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