Published by Simon Pulse on June 18, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Diversity, Short Stories, Young Adult
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From some of your favorite bestselling and critically acclaimed authors—including Sandhya Menon, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Rin Chupeco—comes a collection of interconnected short stories that explore the intersection of family, culture, and food in the lives of thirteen teens.
A shy teenager attempts to express how she really feels through the confections she makes at her family’s pasteleria. A tourist from Montenegro desperately seeks a magic soup dumpling that could cure his fear of death. An aspiring chef realizes that butter and soul are the key ingredients to win a cooking competition that could win him the money to save his mother’s life.
Welcome to Hungry Hearts Row, where the answers to most of life’s hard questions are kneaded, rolled, baked. Where a typical greeting is, “Have you had anything to eat?” Where magic and food and love are sometimes one and the same.
Told in interconnected short stories, Hungry Hearts explores the many meanings food can take on beyond mere nourishment. It can symbolize love and despair, family and culture, belonging and home.
Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love is a short story anthology with diverse characters and food as an underlying theme. Each of the 13 stories are set in Hungry Heart Row and follow characters and locations that appear sporadically in each of the short stories. I absolutely loved how the stories were interwoven and connected by the same characters and restaurants, and I thought it was a masterfully edited collection. Not to mention, the cute map of Hungry Heart Row at the front of the book!
As somebody who loves food and considers it a huge part of my identity, this book spoke to me from the very first page. It’s full of culture and diversity, with each story being #ownvoices, and made me really crave my mother’s home cooking. Not only is there diverse representation, but there is also diversity in the genres represented. There’s magical realism, mystery, crime and, of course, a good dose of contemporary romance. The anthology is wholesome and will bring you so much warmth and delight that you’ll be craving some food or a nice bowl of soup as you read it.
Rain by Sangu Mandanna
This is a story about overcoming grief. It emphasises the importance of food in bringing people who are lost back together.
Kings and Queens by Elsie Chapman
This story was not at all what I had expected. There are secret societies and murder plots that will have you on the edge of your seat.
The Grand Ishq Adventure by Sandhya Menon
Sandhya Menon does romance so incredibly well, and this short story is just as sweet as her novels have been. Food can make you brave and take you on adventures.
Sugar and Spite by Rin Chupeco
I loved the magic in this short story and the title of it was extremely apt – food is revenge.
Moments to Return by Adi Alsaid
Food can distract and melt away even your greatest worries and fears. I loved watching the main character in this story explore new-to-him foods and discover the magic of great food.
The Slender One by Caroline Tung Richmond
This short story revolved around ghosts who linger because of unresolved matters, and how their favourite foods can help bring about calm and resolution.
Gimme Some Sugar by Jay Coles
This was a heartwarming story about family and putting your entire soul into your cooking.
The Missing Ingredient by Rebecca Roanhorse
This was probably my least favourite story in the anthology. It was kind of gruesome and didn’t give me the warm and fuzzies that food usually does.
Hearts a la Carte by Karuna Riazi
This was another story that I didn’t really connect with. The romance was strange and insta-lovey, which put me off the entire story.
Bloom by Phoebe North
A story about family and self-discovery, and how you get to define yourself.
A Bountiful Film by S.K. Ali
A mystery that can only be solved by the power of food. I enjoyed the message that food brings the most unlikely people together.
Side Work by Sara Farizan
Food and hospitality can bring people together and are things that people rarely forget. I thought this short story was beautiful and really emphasised how food experiences are shared.
Panaderia ~ Pasteleria by Anna-Marie McLemore
Anna-Marie McLemore has never disappointed me. I highly enjoyed this story about Lila, a sweet and sensitive girl who bakes and delivers to other people exactly what they need. It’s a story about expressing yourself through food when the words may not come to you.
Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love has become one of my all-time favourite short story anthologies. From the warm and wholesome stories about food, to the way that each story connected with the others, this collection conveys the power of food and the large role it plays in many cultures around the world.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5