Little Fires Everywhere Book Review

Little Fires Everywhere: Book Review by Dinh.
5 out of 5 stars


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 teenaged 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.

Synopsis from hardcover book, 338 pages, copyright 2017 and published by Penguin Press.

Little Fires Everywhere A Novel
Find Celest Ng: Website | Facebook | Twitter


I was looking forward to reading Celeste Ng’s latest book Little Fire Everywhere because it had such raved reviews.

I have read Ng’s first book, Everything I Never Told You and thought it was okay, although I did have some issues with it. See the review here.

Going into the book I didn’t have high expectations. I was just expecting it to be slow and hoped I would click with it and like it more than her first book.

I was surprisingly pleased that Little Fires Everywhere exceeded my expectations. I wasn’t really anticipating it to be so good! It was a compelling read and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Here’s the breakdown of this fantastic book!


I definitely enjoyed the story line. The novel starts with a fire at the Richardson’s house in Shaker Heights and goes backwards to tell how you end up there.

Whilst the overall plot was about the battle of the adoption of the Chinese-American baby, I found myself enjoying Mia’s backstory and her journey in becoming an artist the most.

Author’s Style

Ng’s writes well and her novel is compelling. I was astonished that I enjoyed Ng’s style of writing so much more than her first book.

Ng’s story telling ability is excellent in this book. She weaves a tale that is balanced with great characters and a pace that is just right so you keep on turning the pages with eagerness.

I was won over with the author’s adeptness in creating characters that were so real. The scenarios that were depicted, particularly in the Richardson’s kids, were especially true to life.
Little Fires Everywhere By Celeste Ng


Little Fires Everywhere had a bunch of interesting characters that were well thought out and developed. Both Mia and Pearl and the Richardson family were characters that were believable and you could imagine what they would do because you get to know them intimately.

The strength of the book was most definitely the great characters. I felt invested in their stories.

I particularly enjoyed Mia and Mrs. Elena Richardson characters the best as they are two very different people.

  • Mia Warren

Mia is a single parent. She is an artist and is concerned with transformation. Her life and her choices made have shaped her to be what she is now. She lives for now.

  • Mrs. Elena Richardson

Mrs. Richardson is a complex character. She is loyal to her friends and likes to play by the book.

At heart, she is a good person. She rents out her Winslow house not because she needs the money, but because it makes her feel good that she is doing the right thing by renting it to someone who deserves it or needs a chance.


The book raises some interesting themes such as motherhood, race and identity, family, secrets, adoption, love, friendship, teenage angst, depression to name a few.

Postpartum depression was a theme I could connect with, being a mother of three. I found Bebe’s story heartbreaking. I couldn’t imagine the desperation she must have felt to have done what she did.


I liked the ending and I thought the ending was realistic. It finished off with what happened right after the fire which was to be expected.

My Final Thoughts

I absolutely loved Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. It’s a riveting story of two very different families whose fates clash and become entwined.

Ng expertly crafted a character driven book with a tight plot that keeps you turning the pages!

The book is emotionally satisfying because it allows you to get into the characters. There were some heart-breaking events that made me sad.

The book is a compelling read. I highly recommend it!

Get the book here, or listen to it for free with an Audible trial.

Belong to a book club? Check out Little Fires Everywhere book club discussion questions!

Discover your next great read!

10 thoughts on “Little Fires Everywhere Book Review

  1. This one looks really good!

    And I didn’t know that it addresses postpartum/postnatal depression – uber-important for mental health problems (especially those really stigmatised like new mothers’ mental health problems) to be talked about and represented! 🙂

    1. Hi Cee!
      Yes, the book did tell of Bebe’s motherhood experience which was very sad. She was depressed and didn’t know how to cope. She was also a single parent and didn’t know she could get help.

      I hope you enjoy Little Fires Everywhere!

    1. Hello Alicia!
      Yes, Celeste Ng has improved a tremendous amount. I loved Little Fires Everywhere and didn’t really think much of the first book. Everything just work and came together in this book. I am glad I gave her another chance.

      Thanks for stopping by at Arlene’s Book Club!

  2. I’m so happy you were able to love this one too! I agree, I really like the backstory that was intermingled with the main plot in this one. Ng created some wonderfully realistic and complex characters. I found it hard to know who was going to win the lawsuit because I could understand arguments on both sides as well… Also, she writes it beautifully, and carries the metaphor of flames all the way through the book.

    1. Hi Olivia!
      I totally agree with you on the lawsuit. I found it hard not to see both sides of the case. I felt moved by both parties arguments for having the baby. I was surprised that Ng didn’t lead us to one side or the other.
      Ooh I felt the same about the metaphors. Everyone carried some sort of spark and it was just time that a fire would start…literally 🙂

  3. Omg this is such a coincidence because I literally just started this novel tonight! I’m already really enjoying it, I can tell Ng is a very talented writer. Your review has made me more excited for what’s to come.

  4. Hi Dinh, Oh, there is an actual fire?! Haha. I always thought it was a figure of speech only. Now I know! 🙂 I knew of this book last year when I sent the book to Africa! Books with strong, relatable, and compelling characters are the best. I’m glad you enjoyed this more that the last. Great review!

    1. Hi Lonna!
      You sent this book to Africa? Was it part of your giveaway on your website?
      I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed Little Fires Everywhere. I thought her first book was just okay and I am glad I gave her another chance. You never know what you’ll get until you actually read it. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

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