Our Missing Hearts, published by Penguin Press, surrounds a tween boy named Bird whose librarian father removes banned books, including the ones his Chinese American poet mother wrote. The “American culture” preservation laws around banned books have been in effect since the time of economic instability and civil unrest, but when Bird receives a message, he begins to search for his mother’s work in secret places and relive the stories she used to tell him before she disappeared from his life.
The book is expected to go on sale Oct. 4.
From the description, the literary fiction novel will touch on issues similar to our current environment from Asian American racism and economic volatility stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic to the fast-moving banned books movement that mostly impacts authors of color and LGBTQIA+ authors.
The author’s sophomore novel, Little Fires Everywhere, also juggles themes of race and privilege between two families in a master-planned Ohio city in the mid-1990s. The New York Times best-selling book was turned into an Emmy Award-nominated drama on Hulu. Full episode recaps can be found on she lit.
Celeste established herself as a writer to watch with her 2014 debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, about an Asian American family grieving a daughter who dies mysteriously in 1970s Ohio.