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Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love

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A stunning collection of short stories about the intersection of family, culture, and food in the lives in teens, from bestselling and critically acclaimed authors, including Sandhya Menon, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Rin Chupeco.

A shy teenager attempts to express how she really feels through the pastries she makes at her family’s pasteleria. A tourist from Montenegro desperately seeks a magic soup dumpling that can 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 in 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.

358 pages, Hardcover

First published June 18, 2019

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About the author

Elsie Chapman

12 books356 followers
Hi there, Goodreads! I don't check messages or friend requests here. If you'd like to contact me, please find me at my website or on twitter. Thank you!

Elsie Chapman grew up in Prince George, Canada, and has a degree in English literature from the University of British Columbia. She is the author of the YA novels Dualed, Divided, Along the Indigo, and Caster as well as the MG novel All the Ways Home, and co-editor of A Thousand Beginnings and Endings and Hungry Hearts. She currently lives in Tokyo, Japan, with her family.

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5 stars
415 (19%)
4 stars
848 (40%)
3 stars
658 (31%)
2 stars
146 (6%)
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31 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 580 reviews
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,173 reviews98.8k followers
December 12, 2020

Blog | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-fi | Spotify | Twitch

This was our December 2020 pick for the Dragons and Tea Book Club! 🐉☕

➽ content and trigger warnings: death of loved one (Rain), death (Kings and Queens), frequent mentions of death (Moments to Return), bullying (Sugar and Spite), racism (Sugar and Spite), ill loved one (Kings and Queens, Gimme Some Sugar) -- thank you so much CW @ The Quiet Pond!
Profile Image for CW ✨.
669 reviews1,713 followers
June 27, 2019
My full review is now up on my blog, The Quiet Pond.
I also went on a food crawl to find all the food in this anthology!


Reading this anthology felt like sampling a tasting menu of the rich and brilliant colours of life. I loved this anthology and its stories so much - it's my favourite anthology I've ever read! - and is my fifth 5⭐ read of 2019.

- This anthology is a collection of surprises. I had expected a thoroughly wholesome book (and indeed, some stories were wholesome!) but there were so unexpected reads in here. From romance to contemporary to crime to horror to SUPERHEROES!!! to urban-fantasy.
- Hungry Hearts is such an exceptional anthology of stories that explore how food intertwines with communities, identity, culture, expression, dreams, and family. If you love these themes, Hungry Hearts is a must-read.
- I absolutely loved how this story explores food and how it's more than just 'food is fuel'; it can be tied to our past, our history, our sense of belonging, and our ways to connect with others.
- Don't ask me which one is my favourite story -- all of them were my favourites, tbh.
Profile Image for may ➹.
494 reviews2,070 followers
Shelved as 'need-to-finish'
June 29, 2019
it’s a recipe for disaster when this book is all about food and I only pick it up when I’m hungry
Profile Image for Vicky Again.
602 reviews812 followers
June 22, 2019
I think, if I did my math correctly, the average of all the ratings of the stories is 4.11. But I also think this anthology deserves bonus points for the way the stories worked together, alluded to each other, and led up to each other.

I loved this and the links between the stories really added something extra to the anthology. Review to come! I took notes on each story.
Profile Image for Sahitya.
1,052 reviews215 followers
June 22, 2019
As this is an anthology, I have rated the individual stories below but I’m still rating the overall collection a 5 star because I think it’s beautiful and heartfelt and has an important message.

While this book has been on my most anticipated list of 2019 and I have eagerly awaited its release, I somehow never realized that all the stories in this anthology are interconnected and that was actually a nice surprise. I completely fell in love with Hungry Hearts Row, with its diversity and amalgamation of culture, and the absolute pride everyone had in their food and how they loved sharing it with everyone. Grief also seems like a common point among most of these stories, and I think we all can relate to the fact that food always plays a major role in our lives when we are dealing with loss or trauma. While every single description of food in this collection is mouthwatering and I highly recommend you don’t read the book when hungry, every story here tugs at your heartstrings and just makes you feel. Food is truly magical and it has the ability to bring us all closer, and I hope this amazing collection of stories has the same impact on its readers.

Rain by Sangu Mandanna

A heartbreaking story of a father-daughter duo coping with the loss of her mother, and trying to remember her by cooking her favorite delicacy. It showed how much we associate specific foods with our loved ones, especially moms and I loved the way they tried to get the taste just right. Beautiful story of grief and loss that ultimately leads to hope.

Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kings and Queens by Elsie Chapman

A story of family, food, gangs, loyalty and revenge, this was thrilling and dramatic and definitely not what I was expecting. Very interesting and enjoyable.

Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Grand Ishq Adventure by Sandhya Menon

A story about finding the courage to do things outside our comfort zone, without worrying about the end result, this was a beginning of a cute teenage love story while also being very profound and insightful. The main character embarks on her adventure by exploring unknown to her cuisines and I loved how this symbolized her being courageous. And those food descriptions were delicious.

Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sugar and Spite by Rin Chupeco

Very much seeped in the folk magic of the Philippines, this is a beautiful story about the importance of traditions and legacy, while also arriving at the realization that sometimes it’s okay to infuse a bit of newness into the traditions to keep them alive and move forward. The way magic and food is interlinked in the story is amazing and the second person writing style made the theme of high school bullying feel very visceral. And while the major lesson here is never to use magic for personal vengeance, there was also an emphasis on standing up for oneself and I thought that was explained very well.

Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Moments to Return by Adi Alsaid

While I didn’t fully comprehend the feeling of doom the main character felt, I totally understood her excitement and the feeling of magic she tasted in the delicious food which made my mouth water as well. My takeover from the story was that we should find magic in the little things in life because we are all mortal and while we may die, our experiences live on.

Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Slender One by Caroline Tung Richmond

Another beautiful story about carrying forward the family legacy, sometimes even when you feel like you want to carve your path in life away from it all. It also shows the importance of having friends who truly appreciate your culture, not just as an exoticized other. I also thought the concept of appeasing the fears or loneliness of ghosts through food was very fascinating and unique. It ended on a really cute note and I wouldn’t have minded to read what happened next.

Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Gimme Some Sugar by Jay Coles

The story of a young boy who signs up for a cooking competition so that he can win money for his mom’s surgery, this made me so emotional. His anxiety attacks just made me feel so raw because were written in a way that evokes that feeling in us readers. The cooking process on the other hand is written with so much love, with the message being that infusing your soul into the food is what makes it amazing, and I thought that was brilliant. And god all that talk of butter.... I just wanted to go and eat some mozzarella sticks or butter chicken.

Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Missing Ingredient by Rebecca Roanhorse

A story about a girl who just wants her mom to be back to normal, and her mom who cares more about their restaurant than the daughter, this was creepy af all the way through but that ending just knocked it out of the park. I did not see that coming.

Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Hearts à la Carte by Karuna Riazi

Set against the backdrop of a halal food cart, this is the endearing story of a developing friendship between the cart owner’s slightly shy daughter and a cute young superhero. While there were a couple of angsty moments, I loved how they connected over food and made some unlikely decisions for their future.

Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Bloom by Phoebe North

There is a lot of pain in this story, especially how inter generational trauma affects survivors in the long run and defines their life choices, making them different from everyone else who can never understand it all. I didn’t always connect to the main character but it ends on a very sweet note.

Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

A Bountiful Film by S. K. Ali

Told through the POV of a young woman who is new to the neighborhood, this is a story of finding your place in new circumstances and opening up your heart to receive the love that others want to give you. And I absolutely love the idea that people show love through food, because it felt very relatable.

Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Side Work by Sara Farizan

While this started off on a sad note, it was a wonderful story about a young woman trying to get her parents to trust her again, the pride she took in working at her uncle’s restaurant and the beginning of a cute sapphic love story. I particularly appreciated the theme that a restaurant’s success depends on how well the staff are treated and when importance is given to how authentic the food being prepared is, not just the glossy appearance of the place.

Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Panaderia ~ Pasteleria by Anna-Marie McLemore

The story of a girl who knows exactly what to bake for others because she feels comfortable communicating through food rather than words - this was sweet and heartfelt. But there was also an underlying theme of the harmful affects of gentrification and how it must feel for families who can’t afford to live in the places which have been home for decades, and it all made me sad.

Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Profile Image for Sara.
1,123 reviews363 followers
June 14, 2021
13 stories about food and the different cultural and social significance food plays both in day to day life as well as special events. All of the stories are own voices, which I really appreciated, and we see a wide variety of different cultures centered around one town. We have cute romances, crimes and spiritual stories with smatterings of different characters appearing or bridging the gap between each chapter.

Story breakdown:

Rain - a quiet story about grief, finding comfort in others and the shared memories of those lost. Food is used as a reminder of happy times, and to bring a broken family back together. It was cute.

King & Queens - crime, gang lords and revenge are mixed in with Chinese food and running a restaurant. At times it verged on the silly and unrealistic but otherwise I enjoyed this one.

The Grand Ishq Adventure - a love guru dishes out advice, and decides to take on a challenge of her own in order to work up the courage to tell her crush how she feels. Predictable, cute and fluffy. Not really my kind of thing.

Sugar and Spite - told in 2nd person persepective, this was quite jarring and confusing. The concept was good though - combining the concept of food with potions and the characters were compelling.

Moments to Return - food, luck and anxiety. Our character travels to Hungry Heart row after hearing about the dimsum that grants wishes. With a constant fear of death, they want the ability to move on. I found this one very forgettable. I actually had to reskim the story to remember it.

The Slender One - ghosts, memories and food. Charlie has the abilitt to see ghosts, just like his grandmother. She uses food to help them pass on and remind them of memories they have forgotten. Charlie desperately wants to be normal and leave his weirdness behind, but the Hungry Ghost festival is here and the ghosts are restless. Really loved this one.

Gimme some Sugar - boy enters cooking competition with his grandmother's recipe to win a cash prize and help his sick mother. This was....ok. A bit too twee and obvious for me.

The Missing Ingredient - mother and daughter fight over their Indigenous cuisine restaurant, both resorting to sacrifices that shouldn't be made. I really, really enjoyed this one. Roanhorse has a way with words that sucks me in. It was dark, bleak and captivating and touched in the obsessive and competitive side of the food industry.

Hearts A La Carte - a mysterious boy falls from the sky right in front of our protagonist's cart. He's cute, he's Muslim. But he's also hiding a secret of Superhero proportions.

Bloom - a lost soul trying to find her feet in the world. This had a very different tone to the other stories, heavier and stifling. Naomi is adrift, not knowing what she wants to do, other than stay at her Pop's deli. She's not ready to accept other people's expectations of her, but is struggling to express this. It was an interesting read.

A Beautiful Film - a small town mystery and film rivals make for an interesting combo. Add in a Thursday supper club and this was super entertaining.

Side Work - sapphic crushes over soup, with solid family values and guidance. Cute in all the right places.

Panaderia/Pasteleria - a shy girl expresses her feelings through baking and opens herself up to exploring new relationships with an old friend. Very short, but overall very good. The writing in particular was beautiful, and I loved the Mexican and Trans rep.

Overall a pretty decent collection, and coming from someone who doesn't really enjoy YA contemporary or food related stories, that's high praise.
Profile Image for Romie.
1,094 reviews1,270 followers
December 12, 2020
rain: maybe I tried very hard not to cry and didn’t succeed. the writing was beautiful, and every single time the rain was described I swear I could feel it. the way this little story portrayed in a such a short amount of pages a broken but on its way to mending father-daughter relationship got me tearing up a bit (4)

kings and queens: this was so not what I had expected it to be. it took me by surprise, and I’m definitely not mad about it. I loved the conversation about the different kinds of food, the food that feeds and the one that touches your heart, I felt that (4.5)

the grand ishq adventure: gosh, the way this story put the biggest smile on my face! I appreciated the message of the story so much, that there’s no small way to be brave, it was so extra lovely and of course sandhya menon delivered a cute little romance that got me grinning so hard! (4.5)

sugar and spite: I’m not always a fan when authors decide to write from the ‘you’ perspective, but it worked so well for this story! it truly made me feel as if I were part of the story, as if I were the one pouring magic into food. it was simply lovely! (4.25)

moments to return: this was such a quiet story, all about connecting with what’s around you and live in the moment, not in the what ifs. the way food is describing as something bringing you comfort was so nice to read about (3.75)

the slender one: I loved this story SO much! I can’t exactly explain why this one completely took my heart away, but it did! it’s about being proud of who you are and your traditions, but to still be true to yourself, and I don’t know it was such a sweet little ghost story! (4.5)

gimme some sugar: this was all about pouring your heart in what you do, in what makes you happy, and trusting that your soul is enough. (4)

the missing ingredient: my first thought after finishing was ‘what the fuck was that?’ this was terrifying, I had not seen this ending coming, it was definitely something else. I’m so confused. the more I think of it the more I feel like I liked this story? it was weird, but good weird (3.75)

hearts à la carte: I was confused at first, but once I got what was happening I found it SO endearing! I did not expect the super-hero aspect, but it made this story so much fun! (4)

bloom: the way I fell in love with this story so damn fast, the way I need a book of this! it’s so quietly queer and jewish, about living with a centuries old legacy and doing your best to survive. (5)

a bountiful film: I love stories about people making a film. can’t explain why. this story was quiet, about making a place your home and understanding that loving something isn’t just something that happens to you, it’s also a decision you make. it was brilliant (5)

side work: this story was so unapologetically queer! I smiled the entire time, I couldn’t help it. this was so lovely and so hopeful! the way it portrays a family finding its way back to each other, and being proud of their accomplishments made my heart feel so heavy! I want a full novel, please! (5)

panadería ~ pastelería: I’ll never not need a story about a girl who pours her heart into her pastries and brings hope to people. I’ll never not need a story about said girl falling in love with a soft trans boy and realising that has magic in her hands. (5)

average rating: 4.4
Profile Image for Acqua.
536 reviews192 followers
April 7, 2020
Let's say you're an editor with some very interesting anthology ideas, and you're fascinated by these concepts:

🍜 an anthology of interconnected stories that all take place in the same neighborhood at the same time, in which each story is full of tiny references to the others and forms a seamless web that enhances each story's meaning;
🍜 an anthology that spans across genres, from contemporary romance and horror to gang rivalries and ghost stories and superhero tales, in which stories have little to do with each other in tone and themes and only have a tiny thread (here, food) to tie them together

Then, please, don't be like Hungry Hearts. Only choose one of the two. If this had stopped at the first of the two points, and had been an anthology of interconnected contemporary stories all involving food in some way, it could have been so good. I can only describe the result of trying to do cross-genre connected stories as a complete mess.

It doesn't help that the individual quality of the stories themselves was questionable. While it's true that I'm realizing that this kind of YA doesn't work for me as much as it used to, most of these stories were incredibly bland and couldn't even be saved by the food descriptions.

The only story I loved was The Grand Ishq Adventure by Sandhya Menon, a contemporary story about a girl who decides to go to restaurants alone to face her anxiety, which was wonderful in every aspect, from a beginning that draws you in (the voice in this story was amazing) to a delicious continuation and an ending with a sweet twist. There were other stories that worked, like the bittersweet Rain by Sangu Mandanna, the fiery revenge story Sugar and Spite by Rin Chupeco and Panadería ~ Pastelería by Anna-Marie McLemore, which was like the dessert at the end of a meal. All of these were contemporaries or contemporaries with a slight magical twist, so that I could believe they coexisted in the same universe, and were well-written. All the other stories were either a boring blur or completely outside of the tone of the rest of the anthology.

I think the editors were going for something that felt not only like a story made by many interconnected parts but also a meal with many courses, and so were trying to get as much variety inside of it as it was possible, but the result was dissonant and messy.
There's still a lot to love about this, from the diversity to the food descriptions (you really can't go wrong with those) and especially the celebration of foods that mainstream white, western American society would consider "too weird", but apart from these things, most of this was forgettable.
Profile Image for Fer Bañuelos ✨.
745 reviews3,401 followers
July 10, 2021
*3.9 si hablamos del promedio de toda las historias*

Hungry Hearts es una colección de historias cortas conectadas situadas en un vecindario lleno de restaurantes de diferentes culturas, haciendo que la comida tome un papel importante en cada uno de los relatos. Me encantó demasiado la diversidad en este libro: es una explosión de culturas, etnicidades y amor en diferentes presentaciones. Con este libro me declaro fan oficial de las historias cortas, porque de este saque una lista enorme de autores que ahora si o si tengo que leer. Es bellisimo este libro.

Rain: 4.5/5. Increíble forma de empezar la colección. Es linda, tierna y me encanta demasiado la temática de esta. Bellísima.
Kings and Queens: 2.5/5. No me encantó. Creo que no me esperaba algo de ese estilo en esta colección, pero viéndola en retrospectiva es una muy buena historia.
The Grand Ishq Adventure: 5/5. Talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever. Done before, unafraid to reference or not reference, put it in a blender, shit on it, vomit on it, eat it, give birth to it.
Sugar and Spite: 3/5. Me he dado cuenta que no me encantan las cosas narradas en segunda persona, pero el mensaje y temática de esta estuvieron bien.
Moments to Return: 3/5. Super, super meh. Me esperaba muchísimo más viniendo de todas las cosas buenas que he escuchado de Ali Alsaid. Aún así quiero leer sus novelas.
The Slender One: 5/5. ESTA ME CALENTÓ EL CORAZÓN. Es una un poquito más middle grade pero fue perfecta en todos los sentidos. Estoy obsesionado.
Gimme Some Sugar: 4.5/5. Dios, que belleza. Esta se me hizo similar a Rain en cuanto a temática, y me encantaron los sentimientos tan puros que tiene. Ahora necesito leer a Jay Coles.
The Missing Ingredient: 2.5/5. No tengo ni idea de dónde salió ese final. Es una historía super interesante y el cambio de género estuvo muy bueno, pero si me sacó mucho de onda.
Hearts à la Carte: 4.5/5. ¿Superhéroes, romance y amor familiar? Dámelo todo 5 veces por favor.
Bloom: 4/5. Muy linda. Por fin algo queer dentro de esta colección.
A Bountiful Film: 4.5/5. Llevo años queriendo leer a S.K. Ali y con esta historia corta confirmo que la voy a amar. Agregando todos sus libros a mi wishlist ahora.
Side Work: 5/5. PERFECCIÓN. Coming-of-age, forgiveness, chicas amando chicas, ¿que más necesito? Sara Farizan prepárate que voy a leer todo lo que tengas publicado.
Panadería - Pastelería: 3.5/5. I kind of wanted more. Me gustó mucho como mezcla la cultura mexicana y que tiene representación trans bien bella, pero se me hizo demasiada corta.
Profile Image for Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd).
1,226 reviews258 followers
December 1, 2019
I don’t know what it was, but about halfway through with this anthology, I was just so ready to be done, The stories stopped grabbing me and were consistently average and I just didn’t really care about it anymore. But I didn’t want to DNF it so I just stopped taking note, so this review isn’t going to be a story-by-story breakdown typical for my other anthology reviews, just my overall thoughts.

Hungry Hearts follows the lives of people on Hungry Heart Row, a thriving foodie destination that feels magical and comforting. The stories are all (very) loosely connected, so you’ll see a character pop up a time or two, or a shop being mentioned in one story and showing up in the next. That made for a fun element that really connected the whole street.

My favorite stories were The Grand Ishq Adventure by Sandhya Menon (5 stars); Kings & Queens by Elsie Chapman (4 Stars); The Slender One by Caroline Tung Richmond(4 stars); & Panadería ~ Pastelería by Anna-MArie McLemore(4 stars). All the other stories were between 2 and 3 stars. So it wasn’t a successful anthology for me, but I”m sure many others will enjoy these stories and love the cozy foodie environments that links these characters.
Profile Image for Janani(ஜனனி)⁷.
597 reviews229 followers
August 29, 2019
Rain - love is when a stranger gives you a box of pastries because you look like you really need it.

Kings and Queens - what the fuck did i just read

The Grand Ishq Adventure - damn, i don't know why i always relate to Sandhya Menon's characters

Sugar and Spite - thank the god it ended. I've never wanted to dnf a short story badly.

Moments to Return - this one was good. it made me google how many varieties of dumplings are there and i want EVERYTHING

The Slender One - now, this is what i wanted.


The Missing Ingredient - LMAO
Profile Image for Kalena W.
653 reviews302 followers
January 17, 2022
4/5 stars, while that wasn’t what I was expecting it was an entertaining time nonetheless

As this is a short story collection I felt I should review them individually, especially as they are all so different. I went into this expecting some really cute stories of love and food, as was promised by the cover, but it was actually quite different. So many stories involved magic and a bit of mystery, and one was even really dark, but they were all entertaining. The stories take place in this area of a town called Hungry Hearts Row, filled with restaurants and a variety of different people. I especially liked how almost every story involved a person or family of color as the main cast, it was really lovely.

🍜 Rain - 4.5 stars
I loved how this story portrayed grief so well, and with care despite how short it was. It was a nice start introducing Hungry Hearts Row to both the character and readers, as well as all the feelings of magic within it. This story has an Indian main character, and her family's story is pretty cute.

🍜 Kings and Queens - 4.5 stars
It was captivating to read about a family who runs a Chinese restaurant and is a part of a secret society but feels more like a gang. I think my favorite part was how every item on the menu had a different meaning within the society, so whenever you ordered something it was a message. The end was a little out there, and this story wasn't that heartwarming but it was for sure intense and fun!

🍜 The Grand Isha Adventure - 5 stars
This gets all the points for being absolutely adorable in both the romance aspect and the challenge the main character puts herself to. She runs a blog and someone is asking for ideas to get out of their comfort zone, so she says to visit a new restaurant every day for a week, and decides to do it too. I loved exploring all the food too and how it ended was really sweet.

🍜 Sugar and Spite - 5 stars
There are not many books out that that narrate in the 2nd person, which was what really made this story stand apart for me. That was a really interesting and fun way to do it, especially as the main character was part of the family of "witches." This is probably one of my favorites out of the entire collection just because of how interesting it was.

🍜 Moments to Return - 4 stars
This was not as captivating as the rest of the stories, but I still enjoyed the message and that's why I gave it four stars. I really related to the main character in a couple of ways and so that made it sort of impactful. Generally, a fine enough story.

🍜 The Slender One - 5 stars
While this had a strange premise, I really enjoyed the soft boy main character and his funny grandmother, as well as the girl who ends up helping them she was funny. The little romance pieces in this were very subtle but it was so sweet. It was just a bunch of fun and interesting to read about the spirits linked to Hungry Hearts, it really reminds the reader how diverse the town is.

🍜 Gimme Some Sugar - 5 stars
ALL THE LOVE, THIS WAS SO CUTE. The main character's mom is dying of cancer so he decides to enter a food competition to finally show the world his cooking and hopefully win the money?? Yes, please. Every aspect of this was so wholesome and I want to read about more cooking competitions.

🍜 The Missing Ingredient - 5 stars
I was ecstatic to see a native American rep like YES PLEASE, I haven't seen enough of that in books and I adore seeing our culture so it was a plus. But this story is really creepy and suspenseful and had such a weird ending. Because it was so out of play with the rest of the stories it really stood out and I think this is my favorite one, by far. Both for the rep and the crazy stuff that happens.

🍜 Hearts A La Carte - 3.5 stars
I think the concept was cute, but I didn't really get the point. This felt out of play with the rest of the stories in a bad way, it didn't feel like it was set in Hungry Heart Row at all. It was cute at times and I appreciated the representation but it just felt a little boring and wasn't really for me.

🍜 Bloom - 4 stars
It was obvious that there was a lot of heart being put into this story, and I loved how it kinda just showed the different ways the high school can be really confusing. It just let the main character experience it and draw her own conclusions which was nice. Not my favorite but still cute.

🍜 A Bountiful Film - 3.5 stars
While this one had a wonderful setup, it ended up being a little bit disappointing for me. I liked the idea of a small-town mystery but it didn't feel rightfully set up and don't even get me started on the resolution. It was good but would have been better with more build-up, granted it's a short story. I did however like the idea of a film contest!

🍜 Side Work - 5 stars
Sapphic romances are always so cute and this is no exception I adored this. I think the idea of chain restaurants vs family-owned generational restaurants is actually something that should be explored more, especially in the present world. Happy that it had commentary on it but also was adorable.

🍜 Panaderia-Pasteleria - 4 stars
This is the story that had been led up to for really the entire novel, and it was okay but I was hoping for a bit more. The bakery aspect with all of the sweets, being baked for whenever you needed them, was really fun and I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect. But it felt kinda quick and I wished there had been a bit more time with the story.

Overall this is a really fun and fantastic collection of short stories, probably one of the favorites I have ever read. Just know the cover and synopsis do not actually tell you everything about this book, not every story is sweet and nice but they are all interesting. Definitely read if you love food descriptions in your writing as the ones in here are immaculate.

Side note, not every story has trigger warnings and these are from the book as a whole. If you want to know specific trigger warnings from one story comment on here or message me and I’ll tell you :)

[TW: death of a family member, grief, injury of a family member, death of friends, poison, bullying and harassment, PTSD depiction, mention of war, racial slurs, panic attacks, anxiety, racist comments, cancer, physical abuse, cannibalism]
Profile Image for Aarushi.
293 reviews81 followers
August 7, 2020
Third book of August, and I think this book was pretty good.
In case you didn’t know, Hungry Hearts is not an actual full-length novel, but thirteen tales, all taking place at the same setting: Hungry Hearts Row. They all take place in different places in Hungry Hearts Row (and I have a suspicion that they take place within a few months of each other) and with different main characters. Initially, I expected a fluffy contemporary book of thirteen people and their love stories, but some of these were actually very deep and interesting. You do have a couple fluffy stories, though, so if you are looking for that, you’ll find some in this book. Some of our protagonists from some stories in other stories, which I though was honestly very cool. Some of the stories that stood out to me were:

Kings and Queens: this involved Chinese Secret societies, and I absolutely loved it! It was suspenseful and had a couple huge plot twists.

The Grand Ishq Adventure: this was a true fluffy contemporary romance, and I was glad for it. Sandhya Menon, like usual, writes my favorite contemporaries.

The Slender One: this involved a boy who can see ghosts, which was really cool and fun to read about. Also, though, it had a killer plot line.

The Missing Ingredients: this story had the biggest plot twist ever. That’s all I’m going to say because OMG, it was very, very unexpected.

Side Work: a very deep story that I sort of resonated with, even if I have nothing in common with the main character.

Hungry Hearts Row, as a setting, was very well built and all the stories fit together like a puzzle piece. Please note there are magical elements in each story, so it has something for everyone! The book wasn’t as memorable as certain stories, in my opinion, but still made for an enjoyable read overall.
I recommend to anyone and everyone, though! :)

4 stars!
Profile Image for Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer.
1,512 reviews5 followers
June 7, 2019
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The Buzz

My first anthology was a selection of short stories edited by Elsie Chapman centered on diverse Asian culture and fantasy. I LOVED it and hadn't ever been able to finish or get into an anthology before. A Thousand Beginnings and Endings made my top books of the year too. So when I heard about Hungry Hearts I knew that I would jump on an opportunity to read these...

The cover certainly gives you the contemporary vibe that is at the heart of the collection. And the title really suits how the short stories are interconnected despite being written by diverse authors.

The Premise

Hungry Hearts Row is a neighborhood in Rowbury where different Asian-heritage chefs, cooks and artisans have opened eateries. They are diverse and their food is full of love. We explore the different circumstances of various residents and visitors to the iconic neighborhood and how and why they came to be on this street. I loved how different the stories were and the variety of genres all set in a contemporary setting.

We have stories from Sandhya Menon, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Rin Chupeco plus Rebecca Roanhorse and others who you will wish wrote more than short stories. Certain elements are mentioned in each story that intrigue us as it connects them one to another. Lila plays a huge role in Hungry Hearts as she is one of those elements. I was dying to read her story by the time we got to it. I really loved this aspect of it and felt it worked so well because there was the setting in common among the stories.

My Experience

Anthologies have never been my favorite. In fact, until last year I'd NEVER finished one or even gotten close. Normally I would start reading the first story and never get past it. I don't know if its because these short stories have been infused with Asian flavor or if its due to Elsie Chapman's editing, but I've loved both Hungry Hearts and her previous anthology.

I highly recommend this one as much as the previous anthology just so that you can get a taste of these authors' writing (if you haven't read them before.) Or if you have read and loved them previously you'll enjoy something a little different. Yet with their same style and a bit of their #ownvoices mixed into their story.

Honestly not every story was a 5 star read... BUT I did enjoy every story! Only two were slightly disappointing as they felt more slice of life than a true story. I feel like I got to know a bit more about lesser known Asian cultures plus the touch of diversity in some of the stories is great. Because I didn't feel a lull in my reading experience with Hungry Hearts I decided to round up my rating! It's rare to find anthologies that are relatable,and quality across every short story.

Why should you jump at reading Hungry Hearts?

-Rain by Sangu Mandanna - ❤️❤️❤️❤️
A story about grief and how food connects us no matter how different we are. Loved her bi-racial parents!

-Kings and Queens by Elsie Chapman - ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
This was quite good... totally unexpected and fun twist to Chinese culture. I did guess who made the call but I loved it anyway.

-The Grand Ishq Adventure by Sandhya Menon - ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
I knew from the start how this would end but I just loved her thoughtful experiment and advice. Love was just a single part of who she was as a larger individual. Loved it!

-Sugar and Spite by Rin Chupeco - ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Nothing really happens in this story. It’s a rundown of the most enchanting character you’ll ever meet! A grandma who you’d want for your very own. And a heritage to crow over. Very Rin Chupeco.

-Moments to Remember by Adi Alsaid - ❤️❤️❤️❤️
The end was a little wandering hence the rating. But I really enjoyed the mental health journey and how food and friendship helped him.

-The Slender One by Caroline Tung Richmond - ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
GAHHH I love Charlie and the social identity predicament he was in. I was so glad he gave Andie and his Waipo a chance. What a creepy ghost!

-Gimme Some Sugar by Jay Coles - ❤️❤️❤️❤️
This was anticlimactic and a little repetitive but Leo’s plight tugs at your heartstrings. The empowerment in the face of anxiety is the real champion.

-The Missing Ingredient by Rebecca Roanhorse - ❤️❤️❤️❤️
I loved this creepy story! The only problem was the end was a little murky. Blessedly I went back and read it again and finally understood.

-Hearts a la Cart by Karuna Riazi - ❤️❤️❤️❤️
This could have been a fun short story but it’s bogged down with a lot of controlling attitude on the part of the girl. An upbeat but open ended end would have been better!

-Bloom by Phoebe North - ❤️❤️❤️
This started out really good with an unexpected personality. Then it got really odd, ending abruptly. I wish I understood the point of the story. Diversity seems a part of it but diversity alone isn’t enough. ...Thinking more about it now perhaps it was about the journey we take finding ourselves.

-A Bountiful Film by S.K. Ali - ❤️❤️❤️❤️
A girl is feeling a little uncomfortable after moving across town to her grandmother’s neighborhood. A teen filmmaker she works on a new film there and comes to find a new attitude toward her new home.

-Side Work by Sara Farzian - ❤️❤️❤️
A cute little F/F romance about a girl redeeming herself to her parents and in her own eyes. I liked the family, her uncle and how the restaurant helped her. The story didn’t have much going on and ended abruptly but the right reader will relate.

-Panderia ~ Pasteleria by Anna-Marie McLemore - ❤️❤️❤️❤️
You sure can feel her culture and diversity infuse every moment on the page. While still a rather aimless story it perfectly pulled together all the little meetings we had with Lila. Learning her situation and the situation of many of the old timers on Hungry Heart Row.

Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love is a fun Asian infused contemporary anthology showcasing some of the favorite diverse authors in the young adult book community. It's relatable and diverse with quality stories in the entire collection! A must read!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Authenticity
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Writing Style
⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ World Building
B+ Cover & Title grade

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. It has not influenced my opinions.

You can find this review and many others on my book blog @ Perspective of a Writer. Read my special perspective under the typewriter on my reviews...

Please like this review if you enjoyed it! *bow* *bow* It helps me out a ton!!
Profile Image for Shira Glassman.
Author 26 books510 followers
July 2, 2020
I stumbled onto this anthology by accident while searching one of its authors, and feel very lucky to have done so. For one thing, I LOVE food and have a special fondness for the human stories of the restaurant business, because of my work history. For another thing, short stories make great snacks during the pandemic when longer tasks seem intimidating. I also really adore the way all the stories are linked despite having separate authors, because all the restaurants and families that run them are on the same street -- so characters from one will show up in another making the reader grin with familiarity.

I'm not used to reading an anthology that crosses genre like this in the same setting -- some of the stories are firmly rooted in contemporary YA -- both romantic and not -- while others are paranormal (or otherwise magical) or even suspense. I can definitely get behind a communal storytelling, "all genres welcome here" atmosphere.

What you will get in this book are trips into the world of teens who are looking for confidence and find it, teens who are looking to start new relationships or repair old ones, teens who are .... looking to appease an angry ghost? Solve a missing persons case? Win competitions? Yeah, like I said, this book has a little of everything.

One pleasant surprise for me was that there was more than one story that had a f/f resolution. The book also has a trans m/f romance (as well as some cis m/f romances) and casual mentions of other queer characters -- it's definitely nice to be included in books that are not specifically queer-focused. Makes me feel like I'm part of the world, not just the queer world.

To squee about some of the individual stories a little:

"The Slender One" by Caroline Tung Richmond is a wonderful story about a Chinese diaspora boy who's inherited his grandmother's ability to talk to ghosts. He ends up having to appease one during the local food festival, and I enjoyed both the paranormal and "YA drama with other teens" plot.

"Hearts a la Carte" by Karuna Riazi took me all over the place emotionally, with a Muslim YA twist on the age-old dilemma of superhero romance: how do you cope with being the non-powered love interest mixed up in the conflict between good and evil? I guess mentioning that he's a superhero is a spoiler given the way it's written but maybe there are some people out there who would rather know a story like this exists than go without.

"Bloom" by Phoebe North made me literally squeal. And I was outside reading in my yard at the time so I'm glad it was early enough in the morning that nobody heard me! Okay so: this is the book's Jewish story (each story focuses on a different culture, written by an author from that culture -- other stories include Filipino, Montenegran, Black, Mexican, Iranian, etc.) and I'm Jewish so I'm just really glad that I ended up liking "our" story so much. The reason I loved it is that there's a phenomenon in literature that has very rarely happened to me but that I adore, where the author makes me want something, in this case a relationship endgame, before I have any indication at all that it's actually going to happen in the story. It's the sign of a really skilled romance writer when the author makes you 'ship the characters without even knowing that's what's going to happen, because it shows that there's something there between them besides "the plot said so."

Well, let me tell you, Reader, I loved this character. If you've read my books I think you'll understand where I'm going when I say that Mangoverse fans or fans of my other writing will love Chava. Even though she doesn't get much screen time, there's a lot there and I was so happy to get the resolution the story made me want without telegraphing that it was gonna give it to me. That's like writing-burlesque! Good job, Author :P

"A Bountiful Film" by SK Ali has no romance or paranormal (which I guess is a spoiler in this particular story) but instead just has a really, really good girl-centered plot about mystery, competition, and friendship. Top-notch short story writing.

"Side Work" by Sara Farizan is also f/f and cool, and for the first time in the book we hear about the threat of The Chain Restaurant. I enjoyed seeing all the plot threads come together, restaurant vs. chain, teen redeeming herself to the parents she let down, girls tiptoeing towards relationship.

Throughout the book, a Mexican diaspora girl flits in and out of the scenery handing out pastries to the main characters of each story. The final story of the collection, "Panaderia - Pasteleria" by Anna-Marie McLemore, is her story, so by the time she shows up -- like a foreshadowed dessert -- we're so glad to see her! And she gets the book's trans romance, written by a trans writer. Incidentally, this is where the book finally mentions gentrification, after the whole book makes us fall in love with the unique patchwork of Hungry Hearts row, it reminds us that places like this can evaporate all too easily. I think that makes the warning all that much more effective and cutting.

I hope I've convinced you to check out this book. If even one of these stories sounds intriguing, or if you, too, are stuck in your house and wish you could be visiting a place this colorful instead, it'll be worth it. And again: if you follow me because you like Mangoverse, you are going to have fun here. (I will note that one of the stories is straight-up horror and another one is pretty violent, so I'm gonna slap some TW's on the Missing Ingredient one and also Kings and Queens. But they are still very very good.)
Profile Image for Emma.
931 reviews887 followers
January 17, 2021
3.75/5 Stars

Rain by Sangu Mandanna 4/5
Kings and Queens by Elise Chapman 3/5
The Grand Ishq Adventure by Sandhya Menon 4/5
Sugar and Spice by Rin Chupeco 2.5/5
Moments to Return by Adi Alsaid 3/5
The Slender One by Caroline Tung Richmond 4/5
Gimme Some Sugar by Jay Coles 3.5/5
The Missing Ingredient by Rebecca Roanhorse 2.5/5
Hearts à la Carte by Karuna Riazi 4/5
Bloom by Phoebe North 4/5
A Bountiful Film by S.K. Ali 4/5
Side Work by Sara Farizan 3.75/5
Panadería ~ Pastelería by Anna-Marie McLemore 4.5/5

I was so intrigued by this collection of short stories and it did not disappoint. I loved how every novella is somehow connected to at least one another, I loved the setting where everything takes place and most of all I really liked how food plays such an important part in these stories. I would have LOVED to have some recipes included at the end of the book, I believe it would have added something special to this collection.
Even though I didn't enjoy all the stories, overall I totally recommend this book!
Profile Image for Dahlia.
Author 18 books2,497 followers
March 17, 2019
That was fun and full of surprises! This ranged from rom-com to borderline horror, and I definitely did not expect that, but there were stories on each end of that spectrum that were faves. I think I loved Sara Farizan and Elsie Chapman's stories most, but there was nothing in there I didn't like (and even as I type this sentence, I'm thinking "and Jay Coles's! And Rin Chupeco's! And!, and I love books about food so these descriptions definitely hit the spot. I feel like it really brought out a lot of what these authors are uniquely known for, like contemplating life and deeper meanings of things via travel experience for Adi Alsaid, and the combination of Muslim rep and some fantastical fun for Karuna Riazi. It really is a great intro to the authors and their work, if there are any new-to-you names.
Profile Image for Maraia.
471 reviews177 followers
July 29, 2019
This is the best story collection I’ve ever read. I adored every single story, and I love how they’re woven together and how the same characters and places kept popping up. Each story is unique and yet fits together with the others.

This book is about food, obviously, but it goes way beyond that. Through food, Hungry Hearts explores themes of family, friendship, love in all its forms, growing up, grief, anxiety, sexuality, learning how to move on from mistakes, and more. It’s incredible how much the authors packed into such short stories, and I would happily read a full-length novel of each of them.

I highly recommend reading Hungry Hearts. It will leave you hungry and wishing that Hungry Hearts Row were real, but it will also fill you with warmth.
Profile Image for caitlin ✶.
219 reviews98 followers
December 22, 2019
At first, I was so sure that I was gonna rate this anthology 5 or at least 4 stars. But the last five stories were SO lackluster compared to the first seven. Sure, I disliked one story out of the first seven, but I loved the cohesiveness that was present in them.

But the last five? Though I did enjoy some stories in them, they felt disconnected from the entire anthology, and I felt like the underlying theme of food became watered down.

Rain by Sangu Mandanna- 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Gosh, this was an excellent opening to the anthology. It’s a simple story about how food can help us overcome grief and mend barriers between ourselves, but it was powerful nonetheless.

Kings and Queens by Elsie Chapman- 🌟🌟🌟🌟

After the sweetness of the first story, reading this was jarring. But that’s my fault because I expected every story in this anthology to be in the contemporary genre, while I’d classify this as a thriller. I was pretty confused about some things in this. But ultimately, I liked how it discussed loyalty, family, revenge, and how food plays a part in all of those things.

The Grand Ishq Adventure by Sandhya Menon- 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Reading this was the equivalent of eating cotton candy. It’s your classic “girl has a crush and works up the courage to confess” story, and while predictable, it was still super cute. Also, the concept of the Grand Ishq Adventure is SO COOL, and I would love to go on one of my own.

Sugar and Spite by Rin Chupeco- 🌟🌟🌟🌟

This story is classic Rin Chupeco—a little weird, and unapologetically Filipino. It tackles darker stuff, like bullying and revenge, but I loved how everything was resolved in the end. It was also really cool to learn about how each mangkukulam wove magic into their food. And to add to the uniqueness of the story, it’s told in second-person, but I actually didn’t mind.

Moments to Return by Adi Alsaid- 🌟🌟

I can see why some people would like this, but I just didn’t care for it. Joko’s experiences were valid and nothing he did was offensive, of course. It’s just that—and this is highly subjective criticism—I’d rather read from a person of color’s point of view when it comes to diverse foods, thanks.

The Slender One by Caroline Tung Richmond- 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This was such an unapologetically Chinese story that made my Chinese heart so happy. I love that it tackled the subtle racism that is sometimes directed at people of color for the food they eat. Also, this gets bonus points because it features pineapple cakes, which is probably my favorite Chinese dessert.

Gimme Some Sugar by Jay Coles- 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Ah, this one was predictable but so heartwarming! I loved how it talked about incorporating your soul into the food you make, and Leo’s grandma was the best!

The Missing Ingredient by Rebecca Roanhorse- 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

OMG. This story was deliciously (😉) dark, mysterious, haunting, and HORRIFIC. The rocky relationship between the main character and her mother is SO well-written.

Hearts à la Carte by Karuna Riazi- 🌟🌟

This was a cute story and I liked the sarcastic voice of the narrator, but... I just didn’t care for it, and Hasan’s origin was SO random.

Bloom by Phoebe North- 🌟🌟🌟🌟

This was a wonderfully quiet story about how romances don’t always work out and people aren’t always how they present themselves, or how you make them up to be in your head. It also explored the intergenerational trauma that Jewish people experience. The ending was sweet, and despite this story’s relatively low stakes, it succeeds in leaving its mark on you.

A Bountiful Film by S.K. Ali- 🌟🌟🌟

I liked this story’s premise and what it revealed about Hungry Heart Row, but ultimately, it was underwhelming. I couldn’t connect with the main character or the main conflict at ALL.

Side Work by Sara Farizan- 🌟🌟🌟🌟

This is one of the quieter stories in the anthology, but it’s beautiful nonetheless. We’re following the main character deal with the repercussions of an accident she was in, along with her cute, budding romance with another girl. I love how this story tackled gentrification and ways to fight it. Though I found the resolution of her and her dad’s conflict super rushed. But hey, this is a short story, so what did I expect?

Panadería ~ Pastelería by Anna-Marie McLemore- 🌟🌟🌟

It was nice to finally get Lila Manzano’s story after her many cameos in the previous stories. But.. I felt like this was way too short. It feels wrong to say that, because hello? It’s a SHORT story, but it has the smallest page count in the entire anthology, so let that speak for itself. As a result, the romance Lila had with Gael, a trans boy, felt super rushed. Though I think that the Latinx pastries featured in this are the most delicious-sounding in the entire anthology, which is VERY high praise. I also liked how this one touched on gentrification.

Average rating: 3.77
Final rating: 3 stars

I’d recommend because of its..

⁃ Focus on food (mouthwatering descriptions of it, discussions about its importance outside of nourishment)
⁃ Diversity (Filipino, Chinese, Jewish, Latinx, Persian, Indian, Egyptian, Native American, Black, etc.)
⁃ First seven stories
⁃ Variety of genres (magical realism, contemporary, thriller, mystery, etc.)

I wouldn’t recommend because of its..

⁃ the last five stories, man
Profile Image for Jolien.
721 reviews147 followers
April 1, 2020
I've always been fairly hesitant to pick up short story collections. Too afraid that the stories wouldn't be able to captivate me, that the characters would be too unfamiliar to care about. Hungry Hearts has proved me wrong. I adored almost every single story in this book, and I'm walking away from this collection with a renewed love for food and a list of authors I want to read more of.

PLEASE give this a try. Even if you don't like short stories. Even if you're afraid this won't be for you. You won't regret it.

my favorite stories (in no particular order)
Rain by Sangu Mandanna
Kings and Queens by Elsie Chapman
Sugar and Spite by Rin Chupeco
The Slender One by Caroline Tung Richmond
The Missing Ingredient by Rebecca Roanhorse
Panadería ~Pastelería by Anna-Marie McLemore
Profile Image for Mafalda.
244 reviews61 followers
December 15, 2019
"Rain" by Sangu Mandanna
Rating: 3/5

"Kings and Queens" by Elsie Chapman
Rating: 2/5

"The Grand Ishq Adventure" by Sandhya Menon
Rating: 2.5/5

"Sugar and Spite" by Rin Chupeco
Rating: 2/5

"Moments to Return" by Adi Alsaid
Rating: 3/5

"The Slender One" by Caroline Tung Richmond
Rating: 5/5

"Gimme Some Sugar" by Jay Coles
Rating: 4/5

"The Missing Ingredient" by Rebecca Roanhorse
Rating: 2/5

"Hearts à la Carte" by Karuna Riazi
Rating: 2/5

"Bloom" by Phoebe North
Rating: 4/5

"A Bountiful Film" by S. K. Ali
Rating: 2.5/5

"Side Work" by Sara Farizan
Rating: 3.5/5

"Panadería - Pastelería" by Anne-Marie McLemore
Rating : 4/5
Profile Image for xueh wei.
124 reviews
June 10, 2019
This book made my heart so FULL ❣️

With a stellar lineup of authors, they welcome us to Hungry Hearts Row — where the food is magic, and love is often served. We’re talking about love through family, friendships, and of course, romance.

Apart from the fact that the stories go from wholesome as heck to being creepy as hell, making for a diverse reading experience, they are all just so much fun & so, so interesting!

For a lot of us, food has always meant more than just sustenance— they represent culture, a sense of belonging, and often, an expression of love. This was also the reason why I immediately gravitated to this book, and it did *not* disappoint, I was frankly hooked from the start.

If you were to ask me to choose my favourite story…I couldn’t, I really did love them all. And now I miss Hungry Hearts Row too.

Tysm to #pansing/@definitelybooks for this absolutely wonderful read 😚
Profile Image for Aadrita.
202 reviews139 followers
September 10, 2021
It's a short stories collection where the main theme is food and how it brings people closer. I loved the first two stories, they were absolutely beautiful. But none of the other stories appealed to me much. Wouldn’t recommend.
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,280 reviews1,655 followers
July 11, 2019
Generally, I read anthologies more out of stubborn desire to read the stories by a couple of favorite authors than actual interest in the anthology as a whole. They're a struggle for me, because I want to read ALL of a book, but there are generally stories I love and stories I hate and wish I could DNF. Hungry Hearts was better than the average anthology, because I did genuinely like most of the stories. The ones I didn't like as much were generally relatively interesting anyway.

A couple additional notes before I break down the story:

The concept: The fact that all of the stories take place in the same location and have some similar narrative elements (food that can affect emotions or mental acuity) brought cohesion to the anthology, which I think really helped. It also means that, where generally a couple of authors usually write stuff set in a series they've written, all the stories are clearly original and specifically for this anthology. Often stories feel like they've been shoved in but don't fit the overall theme, and, while some are a strange fit here (primarily the horror, since otherwise it's a fairly fluffy anthology), they all feel purposeful. I like seeing the effort and thought that went into producing this.

Food as a theme: First off, I would absolutely love to go to the fictional small town of Hungry Hearts Row that somehow has restaurants for almost every kind of food you can imagine. *drools* For the most part, I think the food theme carries through really well, but some stories did a better job of this than others. Food is always present, but in a few it felt incidental rather than integral to the tale. The overall message seemed to be the importance of cooking with love, which I did find slightly cheesy, but some stories had a message about the importance of eating widely to expand your horizons, which I liked more.

Story-by-story breakdown:

"Rain" by Sangu Mandanna
After the death of her mother, Anna and her father have been lost in grief, slowly growing apart and feeling lonely and lost in their home without wife and mother. They spend time with Aunt Mynah on Hungry Hearts Row, where attempting to recreate her one dish brings dad and daughter close again. Sweet, and Hungry Hearts Row seems like a nice lightly fantastical setting.

"Kings and Queens" by Elsie Chapman
Hungry Heart Row goes dark in Chapman's story, which centers on gang violence. The tone of this one is startling after the prior story, which was sweet and touching. I guess I liked it for the most part, but I did think it was weird that the gangs are called "secret societies."

"The Grand Ishq Adventure" by Sandhya Menon
LOVE. Adorable little rom com where the writer of a romantic advice column takes her own advice: eat alone at four restaurants you've never been to with cuisines you've never had to build up the strength to confess your feelings to your crush. Precious and with a fantastic narrative voice.

"Sugar and Spite" by Rin Chupeco
A filipino family with magic in the blood that manifests in their cooking. Deals with bullying primarily. Lacking somewhat in actual plot, but with a great premise. Probably would have been fairly good if it had not been in second person, which created distance and artificiality.

"Moments to Return" by Adi Alsaid
A young man of indeterminate age (he's worked on a cruise ship for a while, it seems) leaves his home of Montenegro to travel to Hungry Hearts Row hoping for a bit of magic to solve his existential crisis. He's so afraid of death that he doesn't know how to really live anymore. The story is an affirmation, a bit of a pretentious one but I liked it nonetheless.

"The Slender One" by Caroline Tung Richmond
Reminiscent a bit of Miyazaki's Spirited Away, a young boy deals with his ability to speak with ghosts, both friendly and angry. I think this is the third thing I've read about Hungry Ghosts festival in a fortnight, which is kind of funny. Cute and satisfying as a short story.

"Gimme Some Sugar" by Jay Coles
The voice in this one didn't work for me particularly, but the ending really didn't work for me. While Sugar's cheesy dish sounds amazing, the cheesy ending to this story is not. There's no journey to the ending, and it all feels rushed and schmaltzy, particularly the lesson of food made with love/soul/butter being the most delicious food.

"The Missing Ingredient" by Rebecca Roanhorse
Wow, well, I definitely didn't find that one predictable. I appreciate how macabre this one was, even though it feels out of place in a collection largely fluffy, but I wish I'd felt more connected to the characters.

"Hearts à la Carte" by Karuna Riazi
A girl develops a crush on the mysterious, incredibly hot guy who fell out of the sky and then ate almost literally all the food on her parent's food truck. The story can't quite decide whether to be serious or fluffy, and the resulting tone is a bit odd. Needed more chemistry to sell the romance and more plot to sell the fantasy elements.

"Bloom" by Phoebe North
Oh man, this one was so good. I want more but it also stands well as a short story, which I feel like few really do. There's romance in it, but it's realistic rather than Romantic. The heroine's narrative voice is distant and withdrawn, but the story's all about the impact of suffering that comes down through the generations, so that fits. The emotional arc in this brief story is nuanced and complex. Very impressive.

"A Bountiful Film" by S. K. Ali
A pretentious filmmaker, resentful that someone beat her in the previous year's film contest is grumpy about a move to Hungry Hearts Row but looking for a subject for her film this year. The story largely consists of a non-mysterious mystery and feels incredibly long even though it's not.

"Side Work" by Sara Farizan
A sweet f/f story about rebuilding relationships, with yourself and others, after making a big mistake. There's also a clear anti-chain-restaurant theme. I liked it more than Farizan's novels that I've read, because they tend to be too sad for me, and it definitely made me hungry, but I wanted a bit more spark.

"Panadería - Pastelería" - Anne-Marie McLemore
Happier than I think McLemore's novels are, and I did enjoy this one. It's a good choice to close out the connection since the MC in this one appears in all the other stories. She nudges others with her desserts, but she doesn't have someone to do that for her. This one's all about opening up to those around you and communicating what's in your heart. Also, cute romance with a trans boy.
Profile Image for Vanessa Menezes.
443 reviews114 followers
December 14, 2020
A stunning collection of short stories by bestselling authors about the intersection of family, culture, and food in the lives in teens.

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.

Being a big foodie, I totally loved this book. In fact, to make my reading experience even more memorable, I decided to read only one story a day (oh boy! it was difficult!)

Even though the stories are interconnected, each of them was special and unique in their own way. Most importantly it is a book which fills you both with warmth and hunger to try out some new food.
Profile Image for Linaria.
696 reviews43 followers
April 10, 2019
It's not a BAD book, but it is an anthology so there are some caveats you should be aware of.

1. The quality of the writing varies a LOT between the authors. Some stories are definitely better than others. I really loved Rin Chupeco's story, but most of the others were just alright.

2. The writing reads pretty young in a lot of the stories. Some were a lot more middle grade than YA in my personal opinion.

3. Don't expect all the stories to be light and heart-warming. There are plenty that are not super happy stories.

4. It's an anthology, so the stories are SHORT, I've never been a huge fan of short stories since I'm here for the characters.

5. The depictions of food are probably the best part of the book, but the Hungry Hearts row seemed pretty unnaturally inserted into some of the stories.

6. The book definitely needed a much stronger editor. It doesn't come together very well, and the stories themselves are, at times, awkward.

All that being said, it was nice to see an anthology focused on diversity (and included food!). I didn't hate reading it, but I doubt I would want to read it again, other than a story or two. Your mileage may vary though.
Profile Image for Jeann (Happy Indulgence) .
1,010 reviews4,157 followers
November 18, 2019
Word of advice: This book will make you hungry.

Food is something that is close to my heart, and I love how wholesome this was, making my mouth water throughout. It features many stories about family, friendship, culture and identity, and I loved how each of them centered around food. There is so much #ownvoices rep in here and it was wonderful seeing different cultures (and cuisines!) represented.

All of the stories were loosely related- characters and restaurants will appear within stories time and time again, adding to the scene of Hungry Heart Row - a group of eateries within the same vicinity. As with every anthology, there were a few stand out stories that were my favourites:

The Grand Ishq Adventure by Sandhya Menon - About a relationship columnist who issues a challenge to try a different restaurant each day without picking up your phone and just relishing in the moment.

Kings And Queens by Elise Chapman - This was about gangster families ordering Chinese take out and it was kind of intense and awesome seeing it all pan out!
Profile Image for Nina.
367 reviews8 followers
December 30, 2019

Out of the 10 stories I liked maybe 3 or 4 and the rest were pretty forgettable. I liked the overall feeling of the short story collection, the whole food theme was very interesting but the execution wasn’t satisfactory.
Profile Image for Rainy Rose.
239 reviews29 followers
May 9, 2023

This book is phenomenal! I always love stories that revolve around food. This book contains 13 of them. All different and delicious cuisines, told in 13 different stories that have their own personal charms. Most of the stories were related because they were from restaurants and people who lived in a place called "Hungry Hearts Row".

Hungry Hearts mainly are about food and soul. How food can change and connect people. How people in Hungry Hearts Row brought their differences together in their cuisines. I love almost every stories in this book so it's hard to choose which one is the best. I cannot resists the deliciousness of the pastries, Mexican food, Chinese food and others. They even have Persian food in this book! I wish I could try them all.

If you are a food lover (like me) and still finding something delicious to read, go give this one a try!
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