Our Missing Hearts
Books | Fiction / Literary
An instant New York Times bestseller • A New York Times Notable Book of 2022 • Named a Best Book of 2022 by People, TIME Magazine, The Washington Post, USA Today, NPR, Los Angeles Times, and Oprah Daily, and more • A Reese's Book Club Pick • New York Times Paperback Row SelectionFrom the #1 bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere, comes the inspiring new novel about a mother’s unshakeable love. “It’s impossible not to be moved.” —Stephen King, The New York Times Book Review “Riveting, tender, and timely.” —People, Book of the Week“Thought-provoking, heart-wrenching . . . I was so invested in the future of this mother and son, and I can’t wait to hear what you think of this deeply suspenseful story!” —Reese Witherspoon (Reese’s Book Club Pick)Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving father, a former linguist who now shelves books in a university library. His mother Margaret, a Chinese American poet, left without a trace when he was nine years old. He doesn’t know what happened to her—only that her books have been banned—and he resents that she cared more about her work than about him. Then one day, Bird receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, and soon he is pulled into a quest to find her. His journey will take him back to the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, through the ranks of an underground network of heroic librarians, and finally to New York City, where he will finally learn the truth about what happened to his mother, and what the future holds for them both. Our Missing Hearts is an old story made new, of the ways supposedly civilized communities can ignore the most searing injustice. It’s about the lessons and legacies we pass on to our children, and the power of art to create change.
Community ReviewsSee all
"In a dystopian world, the government expects conformity and obedience, demanding performative allegiance. Alternate views and dissension are not tolerated. Dangerous books are banned and destroyed; dangerous people are monitored and their children are re-homed (missing hearts). Bird is a boy with a dangerous mother and this is a powerful story of his search for her. Bonus points that librarians are some of the heroes of this story!"
"It took me a long time to read this because the whole premise is pretty heavy (the government takes children away from “un-American”parents), but I’m glad I stuck with it. Ng writes gorgeous prose. Her attention to small details makes the charters and settings so vivid. I sobbed through the last 75 pages, so know that it’s a devastating as the premise sounds, especially because it’s rooted in American history. But it’s also beautiful, deeply moving, and ultimately hopeful without glossing over tragedy. "
"Celeste Ng writes with a lyrical and gentle voice, which she uses to color characters and situations with high impact and emotion. Our Missing Hearts depicts a world of fear and hatred, ignited by a suspicious government stealing children, race-baiting and eerily familiar book banning. Of Asian descent, Margaret Miu leaves her son and husband to avoid exposing them to the hatred of foreigners. Years later, hiding in an abandoned brownstone in Brooklyn, she concocts a mysterious project to fix the problems. The reader expects violence, but instead Margaret uses her voice (that is, the author’s lyrical style) to testify to families’ despair as they speak about their missing children. So moving."
"So I was NOT a fan of this book. Not sure if I got a weird copy, but not having quotation marks for the dialogue was a HUGE turn off. You never knew what was a thought, versus what was actually being said to another character. I can understand if it was a poetic vibe, by not having dialogue, but this just wasn't it for me. I finished 2/3 of the book, and finally after 7 days I just stopped reading, I couldn't even force myself to finish it. 🤷🏼♀️ 1/31."
"Absolutely beautifully written, read it in practically one sitting. Maybe my favorite of 2023 so far!"