In Our Missing Hearts, bestselling author Celeste Ng delivers a tender meditation on family, identity, and speaking truth to power in a deeply divided world. The acclaimed narrative follows a boy named Bird as he embarks on a quest to find his mother, a Chinese American poet who vanished from Bird’s life when he was just nine years old. Beautifully told, Ng’s tale was named one of the best books of 2022 by NPR, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and more. If you loved the novel too, here are 10 brilliant books like Our Missing Hearts that are sure to move you.
10 Riveting Books to Read if You Loved Our Missing Hearts
These stellar narratives are sure to satisfy Celeste Ng fans.
By Stephen Amidon
In his searing new crime thriller, Stephen Amidon explores the depths of family devotion and the risks we’re willing to take to protect one of our own. When young Eden Perry is found dead in the idyllic suburb of Emerson, Massachusetts, the wealthy residents of the neighborhood go into extreme survival mode, closing ranks and turning their backs on their neighbors. Soon the investigation zeroes in on the three teenagers who partied with Eden on her last night alive — and the teens’ parents, each with secrets of their own, will do whatever it takes to ensure their children aren’t charged with a crime. With its propulsive pacing and twisting plot that interweaves multiple perspectives, Locust Lane checks several boxes for fans of Our Missing Hearts and books like Little Fires Everywhere: among them, family, class, and the speed at which fear can turn neighbor against neighbor.
By Alexis Schaitkin
Alexis Schaitkin’s mesmerizing new novel takes place in a remote mountain village that’s plagued by a strange occurrence: Without warning, some mothers of the community simply vanish into the mountain mist. Vera’s own mother disappeared when Vera was just a child. Now, as she approaches motherhood, Vera must navigate the unforgiving rituals of her village while reckoning with her fate. Will she get to see her child grow up, or will she too disappear into the clouds just like her mother? If you enjoyed the captivating family drama and speculative fiction aura of Our Missing Hearts, you’re sure to enjoy Elsewhere. Afterward, check out Schaitkin’s acclaimed debut novel Saint X, which centers on a woman’s obsessive search for answers about the death of her sister and was adapted into a Hulu series of the same name.
By Jean Hanff Korelitz
Ng fans are sure to appreciate Jean Hanff Korelitz’s nuanced examination of frayed family dynamics and the ever-shifting nature of home in The Latecomer. The New York Times Top 100 novel centers on the Oppenheimers, a well-to-do family with a wealth of baggage to unpack. Parents Salo and Johanna meet in the shadow of tragedy; their triplets, Harrison, Lewyn, and Sally, are born in the uncertain early days of IVF. Twenty years later, the fully grown siblings are desperate to go their separate ways. That’s when Johanna, facing an emptied nest and an increasingly withdrawn husband, decides to have a fourth baby — a latecomer. But will the new arrival pull the Oppenheimer household back together or fracture it forever?
The Kingdoms of Savannah
By George Dawes Green
If you were drawn into Our Missing Hearts’ potent mix of mysterious atmosphere and family friction, then we absolutely recommend The Kingdoms of Savannah by George Dawes Green. Green’s acclaimed Southern mystery centers on the murder of one man and the disappearance of his companion outside a neighborhood bar in Savannah, Georgia. An investigation commences, led by an unlikely sleuth: Morgana Musgrove, queen of Savannah society. As Morgana scours the city for clues, she ropes in her four adult children to aid in her quest — each of whom is wary of their mother’s scheming ways. Together, the Musgroves must work through their drama and crack this baffling mystery. What they’re about to uncover, however, will send shock waves through Savannah and upturn its elite power structure.
Sea of Tranquility
By Emily St. John Mandel
Time travel and metaphysics merge with sumptuous prose in this award-winning speculative fiction novel by Emily St. John Mandel. Sea of Tranquility spans multiple narratives and stretches across time. A young man in 1912 is exiled to the lush forests of Vancouver Island, where he hears the haunting notes of a violin; an author from the second moon colony tours Earth to promote her pandemic novel that features a violinist performing in an airship terminal surrounded by trees; a baffling set of clues leads a detective to the lives of three individuals separated and connected by time. Gorgeously rendered, Sea of Tranquility fuses real-world shock with far-future wonder in its examination of the human condition, making it the ideal next read after Our Missing Hearts.
Never Let Me Go
By Kazuo Ishiguro
From Nobel Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go is a heartbreakingly beautiful dystopian novel that ruminates on concepts found in Our Missing Hearts, namely power: who has it and who doesn’t, and how it’s wielded against others in an unsettled world. The novel takes place at an exclusive boarding school in the English countryside governed by enigmatic instructors and arcane rules. When former students Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy reunite years later as young adults, they begin to piece together the dark puzzle of the boarding school and uncover the life-altering truth about their shared past.
The Underground Railroad
By Colson Whitehead
Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize–winning The Underground Railroad is both a harrowing story of the fight for freedom and a dazzling reimaging of America’s violent history. Cora, a slave on a cotton plantation in the antebellum South, is desperate to escape. When Caesar, a new arrival on the plantation, urges her to flee with him to the Underground Railroad, she goes. But Whitehead’s Underground Railroad isn’t a secret network of safe houses — it’s a fantastical railway with tracks and train cars that travels beneath the soil. The Underground Railroad is a spectacular work of literary fiction that will sweep away fans of Our Missing Hearts with its boundless imagination and deeply moving examination of what it means to be free.
The School for Good Mothers
By Jessamine Chan
Jessamine Chan examines family bonds and the impossible demands of motherhood through a darkly fantastical lens in The School for Good Mothers, making it an excellent next read for fans of Our Missing Hearts and books like The Handmaid’s Tale. The bestselling novel envisions a not-so-distant future when the eye of the state keeps a close watch on its mothers. One wrong move, and your child may be taken away from you. Frida, striving to keep her personal life together, adores her little daughter Harriet. But after a bad day, their relationship is in jeopardy. Sentenced to a foreboding government facility for unfit parents, Frida must prove that a “bad mother” can become a good one if she hopes to see her daughter again.
The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
By Heidi W. Durrow
In her Bellwether Prize–winning coming-of-age novel The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, Heidi W. Durrow crafts a heartrending portrait of race, class, and the need to belong. It’s sure to appeal to fans of Our Missing Hearts and also makes an ideal book club book pick. The bestselling narrative tells the story of Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a Black American soldier. Rachel’s life is upended when a tragedy claims the lives of her parents. Sent to live with her grandmother in a new city, young Rachel must now find her footing in a majority Black community where her lighter complexion and blue eyes attract constant attention, all while grieving the family she lost.
By Lisa Ko
In her acclaimed debut, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, Lisa Ko delivers a stirring immigrant story of family, identity, and acceptance. Eleven-year-old Daniel Wilkinson was born Deming Guo. He lived with his mother, Polly, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, in the Bronx. But then Polly went to work one day and never came back, which led to Deming’s being adopted. Now Deming is Daniel and living with a white couple in a small town upstate, where he wrestles with the pressures of assimilation as he searches for community. Much like Our Missing Hearts, The Leavers grapples with familial separation and what it means to be whole, and it does so through powerful prose and fully realized characters that you won’t soon forget.