Hungry Hearts Row, a place filled with romance and the smells of wonderful concoctions lingering in the air, simmering and tantalizing. Hungry Hearts—an anthology with esteemed YA writers such as Jay Coles and Adi Alsaid—is a charming, simple, and uplifting collection of teen stories that speak to the issues of loneliness, family, and the desire to be loved. Through the love language of food, friendships are made, teens discover and reinvent themselves, and some just might find the one they’ve been looking for all along.
This anthology series—in the vein of Let It Snow by John Green—uses food as a method of authentically describing love and relationships, intertwining various storylines, and building a complex and larger-than-life world, full of quirky characters and plenty of mouth-watering descriptions of food from various cultures. This story provides insight into the palettes of various countries while inviting readers into the pain of love as well as the triumph of loving yourself and doing the unthinkable.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, soaking in the vivid descriptions that were so rich that my stomach growled constantly while I journeyed with these characters through all of their food-based excursions. From steaming dumplings to pastries oozing with sugary sweetness, this book is not only for young romantics but also for foodies of all ages. With stories as sweet and savory as the desserts they describe, this anthology effectively brings readers into a world that I’d gladly live in. With the final page, readers are certain to be so immersed in the narratives that they wish they could visit Hungry Hearts Row themselves.
While all of the stories in this collection were original, hilarious, and often excruciatingly authentic, I found Sandhya Menon’s story about being “bold” for love, “The Grand Ishq Adventure,” and Jay Coles’s riveting story about family, “Gimme Some Sugar,” to be the most engaging and memorable. The characters were bursting with life and humor despite the pain in their lives.
Love is easy, cooking and enjoying good food—not so much. Through the perspectives and voices of thirteen different YA writers, readers are given a chance to experience first love, to travel the world through the foods described, and to gain an understanding of what it means to be in a relationship with the people around you. While many anthologies fall flat and come out a bit burnt with a rotten aftertaste, Hungry Hearts is golden brown, fresh from the oven. Coated in sugar and rolled in dough, this story is fluffy, sweet, and baked all the way through—a tasty, enjoyable, and pleasant experience.
Read Hungry Hearts for yourself once it’s released on June 18th!