Genre: Anthology


Friday, June 07, 2019

Don’t Read on An Empty Stomach: Hungry Hearts edited by Elsie Chapman and Caroline Tung Richmond

Posted by 0 Comments

Don’t Read on An Empty Stomach: Hungry Hearts edited by Elsie Chapman and Caroline Tung Richmond
Hungry Hearts
Caroline Tung Richmond, Elsie Chapman
Genre: Anthology, Contemporary, Magical Realism
Publication date: June 18th, 2019
by Simon Pulse

GoodreadsPurchase
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.
-A copy was provided by Simon Pulse for review-

If you, like me, are a great lover of both food and books, this anthology will immediately appeal to you. There are a ton of anthologies published each year and sometimes it’s hard to keep track all of them but what makes this one worthy of being on your TBR is that it isn’t just a collection of stories. It’s a collection of stories that is intertwined. Main characters from individual stories make appearances in stories outside of their own, secondary character from individual stories will make appearances in stories outside of their own. It’s quite marvelous and I cannot imagine the amount of work the authors must have put in to make something as cohesive as this.

Hungry Hearts is set in the mystical Hungry Hearts Row. A place where magic and food meet to truly change the lives of people who both visit and live here. Over the course of thirteen different stories, we get to ‘taste’ different kinds of food, meet characters struggling with everything from grief to bravery and truly get a feel for how magical Hungry Hearts Row is. A warning though, don’t dive into this anthology on an empty stomach because nothing you eat could ever live up to the food found in this neighborhood. I would literally kill to have some of Lila’s magical pastries and a nice bowl of ash-e-reshte.

Like always, not all stories truly worked for me but I found that the interconnectedness made it much easier for me to still enjoy stories that I didn’t love. Here were my top three stories.

Side Work by Sara Farizan

After a DIU derails her future plans, Laleh is stuck working in her uncle’s Persian food restaurant to pay off the cost of the damages to her father’s car. She feels stifled by her parents’ disappointment in her and isn’t sure what’s next anymore. A chance encounter with the girl she never called back gives Laleh a new direction and soon she finds herself more invested in her future and the future of her uncle’s restaurant.


The Slender One
by Caroline Tung Richmond

I don’t know about you but to me, there is always something so cathartic about reading about a character who is struggling with their cultural identity and over the course of a story, makes peace with it?? Charlie Ma recently got a full scholarship to a fancy private school and is excited for a new start. A place where no one has met his weird grandma, no one remembers the scrawny kid he used to be. Over the course of this short story, Charlie ends up being tasked with helping a malicious ghost make their peace during the Hungry Ghost festival and while he is reluctant at first, he ends up embracing his skills and making a new, non-asshole friend!

Rain by Sangu Mandanna

Anna’s mother passed away several months ago and neither her nor her father really know how to deal with it. When her maternal aunt invites her and her father for a visit to Hungry Hearts Row, they take up the chance to get away from everything. Anna and her father slowly reconnect over some magical Pan Dulce and attempting to recreate her mom’s Coorg Pandhi Curry and figure out their new path forward.

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

The Perfect Anthology for Halloween: Toil & Trouble

The Perfect Anthology for Halloween: Toil & Trouble

Posted by on 10/12/2018 • 1 Comment

It is no secret that YA has been severely lacking with witchy content lately. I miss the delightful witchy pnr/urban fantasy that was so prominent in YA a couple years ago and I hope this anthology signals a comeback. SO. ANYWAY. When I heard about this anthology, I was ready for it. And it delivered. Like with any anthology, there were some stories that didn’t quite hit their potential, but I think I actually liked every single short story?? Which is quite a feat for an anthology.

I think my favorite thing about this anthology is just how much variety there is! It is extremely diverse but also, there is also just a huge variety in the kinds of stories being told. We get witch-y meet cutes, romances, horror, mystical,…

The Anthology We Have Been Waiting For: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings

The Anthology We Have Been Waiting For: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings

Posted by on 07/04/2018 • 2 Comments

There have been so MANY amazing anthologies on my radar this year but A Thousand Beginnings and Endings might have been my most anticipated for the year. 

I’ve talked this about a lot so I sometimes feel like a broken record, but it is an important point and a huge part of my love and excitement for this anthology so it is worth repeating. I grew up without much rep which was weird and confusing. Obviously, this review is not meant to be an analysis of my trauma but even as a teen, this was so evident when I’d open all those angel/vampire books that were soaked in Christian and western myth. Myths I grew up on, or other people grew up where never part of mainstream media even though they…

The Intersectional Feminist Anthology We Need: The Radical Element edited by Jessica Spotswood

The Intersectional Feminist Anthology We Need: The Radical Element edited by Jessica Spotswood

Posted by on 03/09/2018 • 0 Comments

There was once a time when while reviewing an anthology, I would review every single story within it. I don’t do that anymore because 1. I am lazy but 2. I don’t think anyone really wants to read a review of EVERY SINGLE short story in an anthology because thats a lot to read and most people will pick an anthology up even if it has a couple mediocre short stories. Also, like, I do want to say I am definitely appreciative of the people who do review every single story and you guys are great. ANYWAY. The Radical Element is chockfull of some of the best YA writers right now and it ups the ante from A Tyranny of Petticoats. Tyranny certainly won my heart in 2016 but we still needed a…

Rashika’s Meet Cute

Rashika’s Meet Cute

Posted by on 01/10/2018 • 4 Comments

Meet Cute is an adorable anthology of stories I felt were personally written for me. I didn’t actually know the book was coming out until like mid-way through last year. That in itself isn’t entirely odd in of itself but like for a book that just screams RASHIKA, clearly, I should have known about it. Shout out to my friend Holly who saw the book at ALA in June and thought of me even when I didn’t know Meet Cute was a book I needed.

I digress though. I don’t really want to review this anthology. I can wholeheartedly say it was worth the read and that I didn’t dislike any of the stories. There were maybe 2-3 that didn’t do much for me but even then, I did not…