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Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love

CHAPMAN, Elsie & . 368p. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Jun. 2019. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534421851.
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Gr 8 Up—Hungry Hearts Row is every foodie's dream presented on a young adult platter. Each of the 13 notable authors in this anthology, including Sandhya Menon, Sara Farizan, and Anna-Marie McLemore, spins a tale that takes place or relates back to Hungry Hearts Row, a geographically ambiguous neighborhood hosting mostly independently owned restaurants, cafés, convenience stores, and pastelerías, each of which serves its unique flavors from all over the world. Each story explores the overall theme of food: how it connects us across generations and borders, how expertise in its creation can be mostly inherited and possibly learned, how recipes can consist of more than just food, and how each course can satiate more than hunger. While dishes are described in mouth-watering detail, contributors don't shy away from secondary themes of family, faith, first love, xenophobia, mental and physical health, and gentrification. Not confined by any one genre, these authors serve up a sampler platter comprised of realistic meet-cute romance, anxiety-ridden self-discovery, vengeful magical realism, superhero fantasy, and tests of grief-stricken family foundations, all seamlessly blended together within the Hungry Hearts world. If home is where the heart is, this gourmet story collection is a place many readers will ache to call home.
VERDICT A well-rounded, delicious addition to most middle school and YA collections, especially where anthologies, fiction about food, or these authors' works are popular.

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