Two Moms & Five Kids Get Entangled
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This is the story of the interactions of two families, the Richardsons and the Warrens. Elena Richardson has four teenage children, two boys and two girls, while Mia Warren just has one child, the teenage Pearl. The Warrens rent a home from the Richardsons and that is how they meet and get entangled. There is romantic involvement between Pearl and the two Richardson sons, while the two Richardson daughters find comfort in the warmth of mama Mia Warren.
I loved two things about this book. The first is that Celeste Ng does not dangle the novel’s main tragedy before the readers eyes for pages, but instead tells us what it is on the first page — the Richardson’s home burned to the ground and it is widely suspected that the Richardson’s youngest daughter, Izzy, started the fires. The other thing I loved was that Mia Warren is an artist and her artwork is vividly described in the book as is her process in creating it. Fabulous!
There are also two things I did NOT love about this book. The first is that the author had enough material to work with just using the Warren and Richardson families but instead she pulled another family into the mix, the McCulloughs. Mrs. McCullough and Elena are childhood best friends thus Elena is very involved in the McCullough’s custody battle to adopt a Chinese American baby when the birth mother has changed her mind and wants the baby back. The other thing I did not love was that there was not the tiniest clue as to who burned the house down — and why — until the very end. And if indeed it was Izzy, she seemed pretty innocent all the way through the book. In spite of these negatives, the book pulled me in and held my interest and I give it 4 stars. I also ask Celeste Ng to take all the juicy information about Mia and Pearl Warren and turn that into a book of its own!
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