Cover image for Little fires everywhere
Title:
Little fires everywhere
ISBN:
9780525498087

9780525498063
Edition:
Unabridged.
Physical Description:
9 audio discs (11 1/2 hr.) : CD audio, digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Title from label.

Compact discs.
Genre:
Added Author:
Summary:
The intertwined stories of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the mother and daughter who upend their lives. 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.
Holds:

Available:*

Library
Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Copies
Status
Searching...
Audiobook SCD FICTION NG 9 DISCS 0 1
Searching...
Searching...
Audiobook SCD FICTION NG 9 DISCS 0 1
Searching...
Searching...
Audiobook SCD FICTION NG 9 DISCS 1 1
Searching...
Searching...
Audiobook SCD FICTION NG 9 DISCS 1 1
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

The runaway New York Times bestseller

Named a Best Book of the Year by:
People, The Washington Post, Bustle, Esquire, Southern Living, The Daily Beast, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Audible, Goodreads, Library Reads, Book of the Month, Paste , Kirkus Reviews , St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and many more

"I read Little Fires Everywhere in a single, breathless sitting." -Jodi Picoult

"To say I love this book is an understatement. It's a deep psychological mystery about the power of motherhood, the intensity of teenage love, and the danger of perfection. It moved me to tears." - Reese Witherspoon

"I am loving Little Fires Everywhere . Maybe my favorite novel I've read this year."--John Green

"Witty, wise, and tender. It's a marvel." - Paula Hawkins

From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You , a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

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.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood - and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

Perfect for book clubs Visit celesteng.com for discussion guides and more.


Author Notes

Celeste Ng was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio. She attended Harvard University and studied English. She went on to graduate school at the University of Michigan and earned her Master's of Fine Arts in writing. While attending the University of Michigan, Ng won the Hopwood Award for her short story, What Passes Over. Ng was a recipient of a Pushcart Prize in 2012 for her story Girls, At Play. Her debut novel, Everything I Never Told You: A Novel, is a literary thriller that focuses on an American family in 1970s Ohio. This book won Amazon book of the Year in 2014. Little Fires Everywhere is her second novel, published in September 2017.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 7

Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in the late 1990s in the town of Shaker Heights, Ohio, the audio edition of Ng's novel begins with a fire in the home of the Richardsons, an affluent, apparently happy family. What follows are flashbacks to the moments of tension-the metaphorical "little fires" of the title that lead a member of the family to set the blaze. The drama begins with the arrival of unconventional visual artist and single mother Mia Warren, who rents the Richardsons' guest house with her 15-year-old daughter, Pearl. The Richardson kids quickly embrace Pearl, while their journalist mother, Elena, offers Mia the opportunity to do light housework to help pay the bills. But when Mia starts to mentor one of her daughters, Elena is miffed, and her annoyance goes nuclear after Mia interferes in the adoption process of one of the Richardsons' closest friends, by encouraging the birth mother, a Chinese immigrant, to rethink her plans. Actress Lim gives a dramatic, vivacious performance and catches every nuance of its probe of mother love and the widening chasm between the privileged and the working class. Lim is particularly effective in her presentation of Elena as both villain and victim and of Mia as a seemingly wise free spirit who's not exactly mother of the year. A Penguin Press hardcover. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Shaker Heights, Ohio, is a by-the-books kind of town. Longtime residents know the well-established rules of conduct. Newcomers, such as itinerant artist Mia Warren and her teenage daughter, Pearl, must find out for themselves what is acceptable and what is not. Renting an apartment from city-native Elena Richardson should give Mia and Pearl a leg up. Instead, it throws them into the midst of a fraught custody battle concerning a Chinese American baby; engenders fierce rivalries between brothers Moody and Trip Richardson for Pearl's attention; and casts Mia as the unlikely confidant of the Richardson daughters, popular Lexie and outcast Izzy. There are secrets upon secrets within the families: Mia's past is hidden from Pearl, just as Pearl conceals her love affair with Trip. Lexie's abortion must be kept from her family, while only Izzy knows the subterfuge her mother is using to undermine Mia and Pearl's happiness. Ng's stunning second novel is a multilayered examination of how identities are forged and maintained, how families are formed and friendships tested, and how the notion of motherhood is far more fluid than bloodlines would suggest. Ng's debut, Everything I Never Told You (2015), was a book-group staple. Laden with themes of loyalty and betrayal, honesty and trust, her latest tour de force should prove no less popular.--Haggas, Carol Copyright 2017 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE, by Celeste Ng. (Penguin Press, $27.) The magic of Ng's second novel, which opens with arson and centers on an interracial adoption, lies in its power to implicate every character - and likely many readers - in the innocent delusion that "no one sees race here." DEFIANCE: The Extraordinary Life of Lady Anne Barnard, by Stephen Taylor. (Norton, $28.95.) Over the course of Taylor's biography, a picture emerges of Lady Anne Barnard as a cleareyed yet self-doubting woman determined to live life on her own terms even as she worried about her right to set those terms. AT THE STRANGERS' GATE: Arrivals in New York, by Adam Gopnik. (Knopf, $26.95.) In his new memoir, Gopnik recalls the decade after he and his soon-to-be wife moved from Montreal to New York, in 1980. Always the elegant stylist, he effortlessly weaves in the city's cultural history, tracing his path from graduate student in art history to staff writer for The New Yorker. HOME FIRE, by Kamila Shamsie. (Riverhead, $26.) In a challenging and engrossing novel full of tiny but resonant details, two families find their fates entwined when a young man travels to Syria to join ISIS, following in the steps of the jihadist father he never really knew. BLUEBIRD, BLUEBIRD, by Attica Locke. (Mulholland/ Little, Brown, $26.) This murder mystery follows Darren Matthews, a black Texas Ranger, as he tries to solve a dual killing in a small town full of zany characters, buried feelings and betrayals that go back generations. THE STONE SKY: The Broken Earth: Book Three, by N. K. Jemisin. (Orbit, paper, $16.99.) Jemisin, who writes the Book Review's Otherworldly column about science fiction and fantasy, won a Hugo Award for each of the first two novels in her Broken Earth trilogy. In the extraordinary conclusion, a mother and daughter do geologic battle for the fate of the earth. AUTUMN, by Karl Ove Knausgaard. Translated by Ingvild Burkey. (Penguin Press, $27.) In this collection of finely honed miniature essays, the first of a planned quartet based on the seasons, the Norwegian author of the multi-volume novel "My Struggle" describes the world for his unborn child. AFTERGLOW (A Dog Memoir), by Eileen Myles. (Grove, $24.) Myles, the poet and autobiographical novelist, turns her attention to the role her dog Rosie played in her life and art. ONE NATION AFTER TRUMP: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet-Deported, by E. J. Dionne Jr., Norman J. Ornstein and Thomas E. Mann. (St. Martin's, $25.99.) Seasoned Washington observers examine how Donald Trump's rise reflects long-term Republican trends. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web: nytimes.com/books


School Library Journal Review

Shaker Heights, a wealthy suburb of Cleveland, is home to the mostly content Richardson family of six. Mia, an artist, and her teenage daughter, Pearl, decide to settle down and rent an apartment from the family. Pearl bonds with the Richardson teens, and life seems idyllic until a custody battle erupts. Elena Richardson's friend is adopting a baby whose biological mother, a friend of Mia's, regrets her decision to abandon the child. Ng sensitively examines adoption, privilege, and race as the well-off white couple and the child's biological mother, a Chinese immigrant who initially gave up the child out of financial necessity, fight for parental rights. Through Mia, the author also explores the sacrifices that artists must make and the tension between passion and parenthood. An unwanted teen pregnancy and long-held secrets add to the impact of this emotional story peopled by sympathetic characters. VERDICT For fans of thought-provoking literary works, especially those who enjoyed Ng's first novel, Everything I Never Told You.-Karlan Sick, formerly at New York Public Library © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Guardian Review

A burning house sparks tensions within an all-too-perfect suburban community in a story exploring race, identity and family secrets Is it possible to plan a community; to construct it from scratch, instil it with virtues and benefits, and order it to your satisfaction? The founders of Shaker Heights, Ohio, certainly thought so: in 1905, railroad magnates the Van Sweringen brothers picked a wide place in the road and set about developing one of the United States’ first garden cities. Their intention was to create a suburban retreat, connected to the industrial powerhouse of nearby Cleveland but insulated from its fug and bustle: a place built on notions of harmony and cooperation, with rules regulating every aspect of communal life, down to the colours you could paint your house (“slate blue, moss green, or a certain shade of tan”) and how high (“six inches”) your lawn was permitted to grow. It was – is – a miniaturised version of its motherland: the United States of America, that shining city on the hill; a country that conjured itself into being on the strength of an idea. The citizens of Shaker Heights, in which Celeste Ng’s novel is set, possess a heightened sense of the superiority enjoyed by all their compatriots thanks to the purity of their founding principles. “When the troubles of the outside world made their presence felt in Shaker Heights,” we hear, “the community felt obliged to show this was not the Shaker way.” Others may scrap and brawl, but in Shaker Heights the community is “unified and beautiful”: the weeds are pulled, the cookies are baked (“with all proceeds benefiting charities”), and the school band goes marching on, and on. It’s a soothing vision. But visions, as the citizens of the US are currently discovering, only remain shared while everyone is looking in the same direction – and seeing the same thing. Ng’s second novel revisits many of the themes explored in her acclaimed debut, Everything I Never Told You : race, family, the questionable benefits of fitting in and the everyday tragedy of children outgrowing their parents. Now we have the added dimension of this perfectly planed and polished backdrop, throwing the knottiness of the narrative into sharp relief. The novel opens not with a little fire, but a grand conflagration: in the first scene we see Mrs Richardson, wife, mother, pillar of the community and lifelong resident of Shaker Heights, standing “on the tree lawn clutching the neck of her pale-blue robe” and watching her house burn down. Her youngest daughter, mulish, Doc Marten-sporting Izzy, is the chief suspect, but it soon becomes clear that the inferno has, as the firefighters put it, “multiple points of origin”. One spark can be traced back to the moment, 11 months earlier, when itinerant artist Mia Warren blew into town with her teenage daughter, Pearl, and moved into the Richardsons’ rental apartment. Another ignited in the custody battle raging around a baby girl adopted by a childless white couple after being left outside a fire station by her Chinese immigrant mother; an anguished tug-of-war that roils and rattles the usually serene Shaker community. Yet a third is kindled out of the tensions that criss-cross the group of five teenagers – the four Richardson siblings and Pearl whom, with a range of competing motivations, they collectively coopt – around which the story circles. For these adolescents, typical feelings of constraint and stultification are amplified by their hometown’s edgeless, inoffensive exterior. Individually, these sparks might have flared and faded; collectively, they ignite. The citizens of Shaker Heights possess a heightened sense of the superiority enjoyed by all their compatriots Ng herself lived in Shaker Heights in the late 1990s, when Little Fires Everywhere is set. Her feeling for the place and the period – the pre-9/11, pre-digital, pre-global financial crisis era that, in the intervening years, has acquired a prelapsarian patina – lends depth and texture to her descriptions, while also allowing her to construct a narrative voice that revels in its ironic distance. She manages the impressive feat of allowing us simultaneously to sink into the world she creates and boggle at its naivety and self-satisfaction (“I mean, we’re lucky,” says Lexie Richardson, complacently watching Jerry Springer, “no one sees race here”). At the same time, the pace and structure of the story keep us turning the pages, eager to find out why the fires were set, who will get custody of the baby, what secrets are buried in Mia’s past and whether their uncovering will lead to catastrophe. This is a novel that convinces and compels; it’s a pleasure to read. If there’s a criticism to be made, it’s the same criticism Ng herself implicitly makes of Shaker Heights: that planning to excess can result in something that feels, finally, phony. The plot hinges on a series of coincidences that don’t stand up to scrutiny: they are too neat and too many, and create the impression, in the end, that for all the authenticity of its setting, the story is not quite like life; it’s too clever, too complete, to be entirely plausible. The story is not quite like life; it’s too clever, too complete, to be entirely plausible “Winslow Road was one long line of duplexes,” the narrator explains, of the cheap street where Mia and Pearl live, “but standing on the curb you would not have known it. From the outside you saw only one front door, one front-door light, one mailbox, one house number … They had been designed that way on purpose. It allowed residents to avoid the stigma of living in a duplex house – of renting instead of owning – and allowed the city planners to preserve the appearance of the street, as everyone knew neighbourhoods with rentals were less desirable.” The facade may be an illusion – but it’s a seductive one. Suspend your disbelief for a while, and enjoy it. - Sarah Crown.


Kirkus Review

This incandescent portrait of suburbia and family, creativity, and consumerism burns bright.It's not for nothing that Ng (Everything I Never Told You, 2014) begins her second novel, about the events leading to the burning of the home of an outwardly perfect-seeming family in Shaker Heights, Ohio, circa 1997, with two epigraphs about the planned community itselfattesting to its ability to provide its residents with "protection forever againstunwelcome change" and "a rather happy life" in Utopia. But unwelcome change is precisely what disrupts the Richardson family's rather happy life, when Mia, a charismatic, somewhat mysterious artist, and her smart, shy 15-year-old daughter, Pearl, move to town and become tenants in a rental house Mrs. Richardson inherited from her parents. Mia and Pearl live a markedly different life from the Richardsons, an affluent couple and their four high school-age childrenmaking art instead of money (apart from what little they need to get by); rooted in each other rather than a particular place (packing up what fits in their battered VW and moving on when "the bug" hits); and assembling a hodgepodge home from creatively repurposed, scavenged castoffs and love rather than gathering around them the symbols of a successful life in the American suburbs (a big house, a large family, gleaming appliances, chic clothes, many cars). What really sets Mia and Pearl apart and sets in motion the events leading to the "little fires everywhere" that will consume the Richardsons' secure, stable world, however, is the way they hew to their own rules. In a place like Shaker Heights, a town built on plans and rules, and for a family like the Richardsons, who have structured their lives according to them, disdain for conformity acts as an accelerant, setting fire to the dormant sparks within them. The ultimate effect is cataclysmic. As in Everything I Never Told You, Ng conjures a sense of place and displacement and shows a remarkable ability to seeand reveala story from different perspectives. The characters she creates here are wonderfully appealing, and watching their paths connectlike little trails of flame leading inexorably toward one another to create a big infernois mesmerizing, casting into new light ideas about creativity and consumerism, parenthood and privilege. With her second novel, Ng further proves she's a sensitive, insightful writer with a striking ability to illuminate life in America. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal Review

Ng's engrossing sophomore novel explores, in gorgeous prose, themes of class, racial identity, and motherhood. An omniscient narrator slowly reveals the characters who inhabit Ng's real-life hometown of Shaker Heights, OH, a planned community near Cleveland, whose genuinely well--intentioned residents are not shy about proclaiming how socially progressive they are. The wealthy Richardson family embodies the Shaker Heights ideal. Elena Richardson abandoned her dream of being a serious journalist (she now writes puff pieces for the community paper) because that's what she thought she should do to create a well-ordered world for her four children and attorney husband. Her comfortable suburban utopia is threatened, however, when Mia, a free-spirited artist, and her teenage daughter, Pearl, settle into the Richardson's rental property after years of drifting around the country. After Pearl is befriended by the Richardson children, Elena offers Mia a job as their housekeeper under the guise of "helping" this single mom, but she really wants to learn more about the mysterious outsiders. The gloves come off, however, when Elena learns of Mia's role in an ugly custody battle that is dividing her beloved community and cracking its idealistic veneer. Jennifer Lim gracefully and authentically acts as Ng's omniscient narrator, hopping around town, divulging characters' secrets but also evoking empathy for these characters who are just trying to do what they think is right. VERDICT Well suited for audio, Ng's gem will please fans and captivate listeners new to her work. ["A magnificent, multilayered epic that's perfect for eager readers": LJ 6/1/17 starred review of the Penguin Pr. hc.]-Beth Farrell, Cleveland State Univ. Law Lib. © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof*** Copyright © 2017 Celeste Ng     1   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. All spring the gossip had been about little Mirabelle McCullough--or, depending which side you were on, May Ling Chow--and now, at last, there was something new and sensational to discuss. A little after noon on that Saturday in May, the shoppers pushing their grocery carts in Heinen's heard the fire engines wail to life and careen away, toward the duck pond. By a quarter after twelve there were four of them parked in a haphazard red line along Parkland Drive, where all six bedrooms of the Richardson house were ablaze, and everyone within a half mile could see the smoke rising over the trees like a dense black thundercloud. Later people would say that the signs had been there all along: that Izzy was a little lunatic, that there had always been something off about the Richardson family, that as soon as they heard the sirens that morning they knew something terrible had happened. By then, of course, Izzy would be long gone, leaving no one to defend her, and people could--and did--say whatever they liked. At the moment the fire trucks arrived, though, and for quite a while afterward, no one knew what was happening. Neighbors clustered as close to the makeshift barrier--a police cruiser, parked crosswise a few hundred yards away--as they could and watched the firefighters unreel their hoses with the grim faces of men who recognized a hopeless cause. Across the street, the geese at the pond ducked their heads underwater for weeds, wholly unruffled by the commotion. Mrs. Richardson stood on the tree lawn, clutching the neck of her pale blue robe closed. Although it was already afternoon, she had still been asleep when the smoke detectors had sounded. She had gone to bed late, and had slept in on purpose, telling herself she deserved it after a rather difficult day. The night before, she had watched from an upstairs window as a car had finally pulled up in front of the house. The driveway was long and circular, a deep horseshoe arc bending from the curb to the front door and back--so the street was a good hundred feet away, too far for her to see clearly, and even in May, at eight o'clock it was almost dark, besides. But she had recognized the small tan Volkswagen of her tenant, Mia, its headlights shining. The passenger door opened and a slender figure emerged, leaving the door ajar: Mia's teenage daughter, Pearl. The dome light lit the inside of the car like a shadow box, but the car was packed with bags nearly to the ceiling and Mrs. Richardson could only just make out the faint silhouette of Mia's head, the messy topknot perched at the crown of her head. Pearl bent over the mailbox, and Mrs. Richardson imagined the faint squeak as the mailbox door opened, then shut. Then Pearl hopped back into the car and closed the door. The brake lights flared red, then winked out, and the car puttered off into the growing night. With a sense of relief, Mrs. Richardson had gone down to the mailbox and found a set of keys on a plain ring, with no note. She had planned to go over in the morning and check the rental house on Winslow Road, even though she already knew that they would be gone. It was because of this that she had allowed herself to sleep in, and now it was half past twelve and she was standing on the tree lawn in her robe and a pair of her son Trip's tennis shoes, watching their house burn to the ground. When she had awoken to the shrill scream of the smoke detector, she ran from room to room looking for him, for Lexie, for Moody. It struck her that she had not looked for Izzy, as if she had known already that Izzy was to blame. Every bedroom was empty except for the smell of gasoline and a small crackling fire set directly in the middle of each bed, as if a demented Girl Scout had been camping there. By the time she checked the living room, the family room, the rec room, and the kitchen, the smoke had begun to spread, and she ran outside at last to hear the sirens, alerted by their home security system, already approaching. Out in the driveway, she saw that Trip's Jeep was gone, as was Lexie's Explorer, and Moody's bike, and, of course, her husband's sedan. He usually went into the office to play catch-up on Saturday mornings. Someone would have to call him at work. She remembered then that Lexie, thank god, had stayed over at Serena Wong's house last night. She wondered where Izzy had gotten to. She wondered where her sons were, and how she would find them to tell them what had happened.   By the time the fire was put out the house had not, despite Mrs. Richardson's fears, quite burned to the ground. The windows were all gone but the brick shell of the house remained, damp and blackened and steaming, and most of the roof, the dark slate shingles gleaming like fish scales from their recent soaking. The Richardsons would not be allowed inside for another few days, until the fire department's engineers had tested each of the beams still standing, but even from the tree lawn--the closest the yellow caution tape would allow them to come--they could see there was little inside to be saved. "Jesus Christ," Lexie said. She was perched on the roof of her car, which was now parked across the street, on the grass bordering the duck pond. She and Serena had still been asleep, curled up back-to-back in Serena's queen size, when Dr. Wong shook her shoulder just after one, whispering, "Lexie. Lexie, honey. Wake up. Your mom just called." They had stayed up past two a.m., talking--as they had been all spring--about little Mirabelle McCullough, arguing about whether the judge had decided right or wrong, about whether her new parents should've gotten custody or if she should've been given back to her own mother. "Her name isn't even really Mirabelle McCullough, for god's sake," Serena had said at last, and they'd lapsed into sullen, troubled silence until they both fell asleep. Now Lexie watched the smoke billow from her bedroom window, the front one that looked over the lawn, and thought of everything inside that was gone. Every T-shirt in her dresser, every pair of jeans in her closet. All the notes Serena had written her since the sixth grade, still folded in paper footballs, which she'd kept in a shoebox under her bed; the bed itself, the very sheets and comforter charred to a crisp. The rose corsage her boyfriend, Brian, had given her at homecoming, hung to dry on her vanity, the petals darkened from ruby to dried-blood red. Now it was nothing but ashes. In the change of clothes she had brought to Serena's, Lexie realized suddenly, she was better off than the rest of her family: in the backseat she had a duffel bag, a pair of jeans, a toothbrush. Pajamas. She glanced at her brothers, at her mother, still in her bathrobe on their tree lawn, and thought, They have literally nothing but the clothes on their backs. Literally was one of Lexie's favorite words, which she deployed even when the situation was anything but literal. In this case, for once, it was more or less true. Trip, from his spot beside her, absentmindedly ran one hand through his hair. The sun was high overhead now and the sweat made his curls stand up rather rakishly. He had been playing basketball at the community center when he heard fire trucks wailing, but had thought nothing of it. (This morning he had been particularly preoccupied, but in truth he likely would not have noticed anyway.) Then, at one, when everyone got hungry and decided to call it a game, he had driven home. True to form, even with the windows down he had not noticed the huge cloud of smoke wafting toward him, and he only began to realize something was wrong when he found his street blocked off by a police car. After ten minutes of explaining, he had finally been allowed to park his Jeep across from the house, where Lexie and Moody were already waiting. The three of them sat on the car's roof in order, as they had in all the family portraits that had once hung in the stairwell and were now reduced to ash. Lexie, Trip, Moody: senior, junior, sophomore. Beside them they felt the hole that Izzy, the freshman, the black sheep, the wild card, had left behind-- though they were still certain, all of them, that this hole would be temporary. "What was she thinking?" Moody muttered, and Lexie said, "Even she knows she's gone too far this time, that's why she ran off. When she comes back, Mom is going to murder her." "Where are we going to stay?" Trip asked. A moment of silence unreeled as they contemplated their situation. "We'll get a hotel room or something," said Lexie finally. "I think that's what Josh Trammell's family did." Everyone knew this story: how a few years ago Josh Trammell, a sophomore, had fallen asleep with a candle lit and burned his parents' house down. The long-standing rumor at the high school was that it wasn't a candle, it was a joint, but the house had been so thoroughly gutted there was no way to tell, and Josh had stuck to his candle story. Everyone still thought of him as that dumbass jock who burned the house down , even though that had been ages ago, and Josh had recently graduated from Ohio State with honors. Now, of course, Josh Trammell's fire would no longer be the most famous fire in Shaker Heights. "One hotel room? For all of us?" "Whatever. Two rooms. Or we'll stay at the Embassy Suites. I don't know." Lexie tapped her fingers against her knee. She wanted a cigarette, but after what had just happened--and in full view of her mother and ten firemen--she didn't dare light one. "Mom and Dad will figure it out. And the insurance will pay for it." Although she had only a vague sense of how insurance worked, this seemed plausible. In any case, this was a problem for the adults, not for them. The last of the firemen were emerging from the house, pulling the masks from their faces. Most of the smoke had gone, but a mugginess still hung everywhere, like the air in the bathroom after a long, hot shower. The roof of the car was getting hot, and Trip stretched his legs down the windshield, poking the wipers with the toe of his flip-flop. Then he started to laugh. "What's so funny?" Lexie said. "Just picturing Izzy running around striking matches everywhere." He snorted. "The nutcase." Moody drummed a finger on the roof rack. "Why is everybody so sure she did it?" "Come on." Trip jumped down off the car. "It's Izzy. And we're all here. Mom's here. Dad's on his way. Who's missing?" "So Izzy's not here. She's the only one who could be  responsible?" " Responsible? " put in Lexie. "Izzy?" "Dad was at work," Trip said. "Lexie was at Serena's. I was over at Sussex playing ball. You?" Moody hesitated. "I biked over to the library." "There. You see?" To Trip, the answer was obvious. "The only ones here were Izzy and Mom. And Mom was asleep." "Maybe the wiring in the house shorted. Or maybe someone left the stove on." "The firemen said there were little fires everywhere," Lexie said. "Multiple points of origin. Possible use of accelerant. Not an  accident." "We all know she's always been mental." Trip leaned back against the car door. "You're all always picking on her," Moody said. "Maybe that's why she acts mental ." Across the street, the fire trucks began to reel in their hoses. The three remaining Richardson children watched the firemen set down their axes and peel away their smoky yellow coats. "Someone should go over and stay with Mom," Lexie said, but no one moved. After a minute, Trip said, "When Mom and Dad find Iz, they are going to lock her up in a psych ward for the rest of her life." No one thought about the recent departure of Mia and Pearl from the house on Winslow Road. Mrs. Richardson, watching the fire chief meticulously taking notes on his clipboard, had completely forgotten about her former tenants. She had not yet mentioned it to her husband or her children; Moody had discovered their absence only earlier that morning, and was still unsure what to make of it. Far down Parkland Drive the small blue dot of their father's BMW began to approach. "What makes you so sure they'll find her?" Moody asked. Excerpted from Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.