Quotes from Everything I Never Told You

Celeste Ng ·  292 pages

Rating: (169.3K votes)


“Before that she hadn’t realized how fragile happiness was, how if you were careless, you could knock it over and shatter it.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“What made something precious? Losing it and finding it.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“The things that go unsaid are often the things that eat at you--whether because you didn't get to have your say, or because the other person never got to hear you and really wanted to.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“You never got what you wanted; you just learned to get by without it.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“He pushed her in. And then he pulled her out. All her life, Lydia would remember one thing. All his life, Nath would remember another.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You



“They never discussed it, but both came to understand it as a promise: he would always make sure there was a place for her. She would always be able to say, Someone is coming. I am not alone.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“You loved so hard and hoped so much and then you ended up with nothing. Children who no longer needed you. A husband who no longer wanted you. Nothing left but you, alone, and empty space.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“It would disappear forever from her memory of Lydia, the way memories of a lost loved one always smooth and simplify themselves, shedding complexities like scales.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“People decide what you're like before they even get to know you”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“It’s too late. He’s already learned how not to drown.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You



“When a long, long time later, he stares down at the silent blue marble of the earth and thinks of his sister, as he will at every important moment of his life. He doesn't know this yet, but he senses it deep down in his core. So much will happen, he thinks, that I would want to tell you.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“How had it begun? Like everything: with mothers and fathers. Because of Lydia’s mother and father, because of her mother’s and father’s mothers and fathers.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“You could stop taking their phone calls, tear up their letters, pretend they'd never existed. Start over as a new person with a new life. Just a problem of geography, he thought, with the confidence of someone who had never yet tried to free himself of family.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“He can guess, but he won't ever know, not really. What it was like, what she was thinking, everything she'd never told him. Whether she thought he'd failed her, or whether she wanted him to let her go. This, more than anything, makes him feel that she is gone.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“There is nowhere to go but on. Still, part of her longs to go back for one instant—not to change anything, not even to speak to Lydia, not to tell her anything at all. Just to open the door and see her daughter there, asleep, one more time, and know all was well.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You



“You don't feel like smiling? Then what? Force yourself to smile. Act as if you were already happy, and that will tend to make you happy.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“All their lives Nath had understood, better than anyone, the lexicon of their family, the things they could never truly explain to outsiders: that a book or a dress meant more than something to read or something to wear; that attention came with expectations that—like snow—drifted and settled and crushed you with their weight. All the words were right, but in this new Nath’s voice, they sounded trivial and brittle and hollow. The way anyone else might have heard them. Already her brother had become a stranger.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“She understands. There is nowhere to go but on. Still, part of her longs to go back”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“Lydia, five years old, standing on tiptoe to watch vinegar and baking soda foam in the sink. Lydia tugging a heavy book from the shelf, saying, "Show me again, show me another." Lydia, touching the stethoscope, ever so gently, to her mother’s heart. Tears blur Marilyn’s sight. It had not been science that Lydia had loved”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“Sometimes you almost forgot: that you didn't look like everyone else. In homeroom or at the drugstore or at the supermarket, you listened to morning announcements or dropped off a roll of film or picked up a carton of eggs and felt like just another someone in the crowd. Sometimes you didn't think about it at all. And then sometimes you noticed the girl across the aisle watching, the pharmacist watching, the checkout boy watching, and you saw yourself reflected in their stares: incongruous. Catching the eye like a hook. Every time you saw yourself from the outside, the way other people saw you, you remembered all over again.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You



“Every time she kissed him, every time he opened his arms and she crawled into them, felt like a miracle. Coming to her made him feel perfectly welcomed, perfectly at home, as he had never in his life felt before.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“Dreaming of his future, he no longer heard all the things she did not say.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“She recognized it at once: love, one-way deep adoration that bounced off and did not bounce back; careful, quiet love that didn't care and went on anyway.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“He can guess, but he won't ever know, not really. What it was like, what she was thinking, everything she'd never told him.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“Whenever he remembered this moment, it lasted forever: a flash of complete separateness as Lydia disappeared beneath the surface. Crouched on the dock, he had a glimpse of the future: without her, he would be completely alone. In the instant after, he knew it would change nothing. He could feel the ground still tipping beneath him. Even without Lydia, the world would not level. He and his parents and their lives would spin into the space where she had been. They would be sucked into the vacuum she left behind.

More than this: the second he touched her, he knew that he had misunderstood everything. When his palms hit her shoulders, when the water closed over her head, Lydia had felt relief so great she had sighed in a deep choking lungful. She had staggered so readily, fell so eagerly, that she and Nath both knew: that she felt it, too, this pull she now exerted, and didn't want it. That the weight of everything tilting toward her was too much.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You



“In the dark they are careful of each other, as if they know they are fragile, as if they know they can break.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“The things that go unsaid are often the things that eat at you.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“It will be all right, she told herself, and she stepped out of the boat into the water.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“Morning sun fills the house, creamy as lemon chiffon, lighting the insides of cupboards and empty closets and clean, bare floors.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You


“But at that moment she had known, with a certainty she would never feel about anything else in her life, that it was right, that she wanted this man in her life. Something inside her said, He understands. What it's like to be different.”
― Celeste Ng, quote from Everything I Never Told You



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About the author

Celeste Ng
Born place: The United States
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