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This book ended up on my Christmas list because I'd seen it compared to Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, which was pretty much my book-boyfriend of last year. I did everything but put a pair of jeans on it and take it out for a candlelit dinner.

(Before you say anything, yes, I realize Christmas was over three months ago, and no, I don't have an excuse for why it's taken me so long to read In the Language of Miracles, other than to say I have a tendency to neglect books I own in favor of e-galleys and library copies that are only available for a limited time. Like lazy high school students everywhere, I work better up against a deadline.)

Having finally cracked the spine, I can confirm the validity of the comparison. Each book centers on a family in the aftermath of tragedy and is sparing with details as to what exactly the tragedy was. Instead, the authors examine what happens when lies are exposed and uncomfortable truths can no longer be ignored. And in both cases, the families crumble under the weight of their respective truth.

Hassib opts to keep so many of the details concealed that her novel wasn't quite as satisfying for me as Ng's. I can deal with ambiguity, but the most interesting character she created is the one we never get to clearly see. And if I'm being honest, there's a part of me that craves closure, that wants to know what “really” happened, and Hassib is coy on that score. Still, if you're a fan of family dramas in particular and literary fiction in general, you'll probably find a lot to like (and a lot to think about) in In the Language of Miracles.