Foolish Hearts

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 05 Dec 2017

Member Reviews

Emma Mills has done it again!  There's something so inherently likable about not only the author but also her characters, her method of storytelling, really just about everything!  It's hard not to be wildly entertained while simultaneously nodding your head and thinking, "Yep, I've been there!"  This isn't just universal to teens either, as an adult I often found myself relating to Claudia as well.  I think that's what makes Mills books so special.  She is able to entertain you with sweet romantic tales but she also gets you thinking much deeper, about the nature of relationships whether they're romantic, platonic, friendly, or familial - she comes from all sides and I really admire her for that.  I also love that in every book she is able to incorporate some sort of classic text.  Whether it be Austen or Shakespeare, she's able to present classic literature in a way that is accessible as it is entertaining.  That really takes some mad writing skills. Needless to say, this is an absolute must have for all YA collections - library or home - and one that I think teens will most certainly get on board with.
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***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: December 5, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

A contemporary novel about a girl whose high school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream leads her to new friends—and maybe even new love.

The day of the last party of the summer, Claudia overhears a conversation she wasn't supposed to. Now on the wrong side of one of the meanest girls in school, Claudia doesn't know what to expect when the two are paired up to write a paper—let alone when they're both forced to try out for the school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

But mandatory participation has its upsides—namely, an unexpected friendship, a boy band obsession, and a guy with the best dimpled smile Claudia's ever seen. As Claudia's world starts to expand, she finds that maybe there are some things worth sticking her neck out for.

What I Liked:

YA contemporary really isn't my thing, but I've read all of Emma Mills' books and I've enjoyed them. I read First & Then and This Adventure Ends and both books were so wonderful. Foolish Hearts certainly does not disappoint. With Mills's trademark humor and relatable characters and situations, Foolish Hearts solidifies this author's place as a queen of YA contemporary

Claudia likes things the way they are, with her life at her prep school, her best friend in the local public school, her brother taking community college classes, her sister living in another state with her husband. Life seems to be just fine, and Claudia doesn't really care for change, so this works for her. But things start to fall out of place the day Claudia overhears Paige Breckner break up with Iris Huang. These two made up the school's power couple, so when Paige breaks up with Iris, Iris doesn't want anyone to know what went down. Iris isn't exactly nice, and most people are afraid of her. When Claudia and Iris are forced to be partners for a Lit assignment, Claudia realizes that Iris isn't all bad. They try out for the school play, where Claudia makes friends with Gideon, a goofy and charismatic boy at the neighboring all-boys prep school, a guy who everyone likes and likes everyone. Life is changing for Claudia, and she realizes that it isn't all bad.

I knew I was going to read this book without even reading the synopsis. I'm not a huge fan of YA contemporary but at this point, I trust Emma Mills. So when I finally read the synopsis (last night), and then started reading the book, I started to feel a little apprehensive. Did I want to read a book dealing with girl drama? Not really. With Iris being furious at Claudia for overhearing the breakup, I figured this book would be rife with girl drama. But thankfully, that wasn't the case!

The book starts with that (Paige and Iris's breakup), but that isn't the whole point of the book, or the big issue, or anything like that. Iris and Claudia slowly become friends, after they are forced to be partners for a Lit assignment. This is a hilarious slow-burn friendship, because Iris is so stiff and unapproachable, and she doesn't like anybody. Which is fair, because most people don't like her. But Mills is so good at character development - Iris isn't a one-dimensional mean girl. In fact, as the story goes on, I realized that Iris isn't a mean girl at all. She isn't great with emotions and hashing things out, but she is a person I could empathize with. As she and Claudia hang out more, they develop a solid friendship.

Claudia is somewhat of a go-with-the-flow type of person, but she also hates change. She has a great sense of humor laced with a lot of sarcasm, and I thought she was hilarious. She might seem a little bland at first, but it's hard not to adore her as you get to know her. I could relate to her a lot. I loved how she honest and straightforward she was.

There are many positive friendships in this book, besides Claudia and Iris's friendship. Claudia has always been best friends with Zoe, since preschool. Though they go to different schools, they have remained very close friends. They go through a lot in this book, some pretty big obstacles, but their friendship comes out strong in spite of everything. I also liked Claudia good relationship with her parents (who are not crazy YA parents or absent YA parents).

One of the things that I loved about this book was how family dynamics were such an important part of it. Claudia's parents are so cool and "normal" - they aren't crazy or absent or too lenient. Claudia and her brother Alex are close, especially being one year apart. Claudia's older sister Julia is eleven years older and living three hours away, but Claudia and her sister have a good relationship. Julia is pregnant and she isn't super excited about it. She's scared and unsure. I loved this; everyone acts like a newly pregnant woman is supposed to be excited and happy and whatnot - and it's a crime if you're not. I disagree. It should be socially "okay" for a woman to be scared or a little less enthusiastic. Julia doesn't think she can do the mom thing, and this is a legitimate thing to worry about. Being a mom is a huge step and totally new to a first-time mom. I love how this is something that is addressed in this book. Being a mother isn't a box to check off on a to-do list. 

Secondary characters who were wholly developed, wonderful, and a delight to read -- Gideon (the sweet, goofy, charismatic boy who is loved by everyone), Noah (Gideon's friend/brother since they were very young), Iris (of course), Zoe (of course), Del and Caris (working in costumes alongside Claudia, for the play. There are so many secondary characters in this book, and I love that so many were positive "good" characters. 

The romance was so so so so so so slow-burn, but in a realistic and very cute way. It reminded me of a crush I had, when I was slowly falling for him. Gideon is a charismatic guy that likes everyone, and everyone likes him. He is the kind of guy to pick up new interests all the time, and for that reason, Claudia doesn't want to like like him. But she does, and she can't stop it. Especially since it's clear that he likes likes her. They are the cutest! She is a sarcastic Shakespeare wiz, and he is an adorably goofy jokester. He's not a d-bag kind of charismatic boy, which made me like him even more. He is sweet and very considerate, and definitely a guy I would want to date (though they were so rare, especially in high school).

All of the parts of the story come together in the climax, which involved Paige and Iris, Gideon and Claudia, Julia and her pregnancy, Claudia and a conflict with Zoe... there is a lot going on by the end of the book, and a lot for Claudia to take in. This story isn't about her making it through senior year or getting ready to go to college - but it is about her growing into a more mature and well-rounded person. I liked this book a lot and I will be rereading it in the near future!

What I Did Not Like:

I feel like I always want more kissing, in Mills's books! It's always towards the end and only very briefly. Her books have such potential to be so physically swoony! I love the slow-burn non-swoony swoony tension though. But I wouldn't mind more!

Would I Recommend It:

I highly recommend any of Mills's books, not just this one. This one is a lovely and enjoyable story, a quick read that will make you smile. I wouldn't necessarily call it "fluffy" YA contemporary, because of the range of topics and emotions induced, but it's not a tough-issue YA contemporary novel. It's one that is delightful and sweet but also deals with real-life issues (like navigating friendships and anticipating motherhood - in Julia's case). You don't have to be a YA contemporary fan to fall in love with Mills's stories!

Rating:

4 stars. There is a reason Mills keeps me coming back - or maybe many reasons. Her novels have been wonderful so far. Foolish Hearts is yet another masterpiece that adds to Mills's stellar reputation as a pillar in YA contemporary. I will forever be looking for new books by her, no matter the genre!
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What a delight this book was and so much more than I expected! Claudia is stuck in an awkward situation when she overhears a power couple breakup at a party.  The wrath and anger of Iris after she is dumped is something that Claudia isn't looking forward too.  When they are stuck together to write a paper for their English class at their private girls school, Claudia discovers that some people are just hard to reach.  After an epic fail, the girls are forced to try out for A Midsummer Night's Dream, which is being put on with the boys school next door.  Claudia is not thrilled to be out of her comfort zone and interacting with people she isn't friends with.  As they story goes one, Claudia finds herself forming new relationships and friendships with those she meets.  The author does a beautiful job developing these unlikely friendships in a believable and realistic way.  The friendships and relationships are honest and I felt myself swept into their lives, wishing I was a part of their friend group.  This story had so many layers told with warmth and humor.  Overall a wonderful story about friendship, accepting others and realizing how to love and appreciate others.
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There’s something about an Emma Mills book that just leaves you feeling light and happy and this book definitely kept with that tradition for me. Don’t let the synopsis fool you – this isn’t about a rivalry between two girls, but really about misconceptions and unlikely friendship. Although the girls start out a little adversarial, they quickly develop a nice rapport and friendship. Foolish Hearts has a Shakespeare play, an MMO-loving main character, a boy band obsession, a really great emphasis on friendship and family, and a really cute romance. Basically, this has everything, all wrapped up in some really nice, warm writing. Emma Mills is definitely an auto-buy author for me now.
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I read This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills about a month a ago, and I knew after I had finished that that I definitely wanted to check out another book by her because I really enjoyed it, but it was the only book I had read by her so I couldn't say yet weather or not she would be an author who I would check out every book they publish or not. After reading Foolish Hearts, I can now confirm that she will be an auto-buy author for me. 
   I don't know if I can say this book was perfect, because I don't think any book can be 'perfect', but I can honestly say that I cannot think of anything that I would think of as negative. At first I thought I was not going to be the biggest fan of the romance, but then a couple of chapters after thinking that I started to become obsessed with Gideon. Not only did I like Gideon, but I liked him and Claudia together, and I think that is because I really relate to how Claudia deals with relationships. How she pulls away from people, how cautious she is, I could just relate to her so much, and that was pretty awesome. 
   On the note of being able to relate to her so much, I just LOVED the emphasis on Claudia's love for Battle Quest, it made my little MMO loving heart flutter. I loved it for so much for two reasons. The first is just that I personally do not see a lot (actually, I don't even know if I have read one) of books with a female main character who loves a video game like Claudia loves Battle Mage. The second one is because the game reminded me so much of World of Warcraft, a game which I used to play so much as a kid, and that was just another way I could relate to Claudia, and it started bringing back old memories for me. 
   It was really cool just seeing Claudia play the video game, but what made that aspect of the book even better was that she played with her family/best friend. I know I have said I loved a lot of things about this book, but I am going to say it again, because I really loved seeing all of them play together. 
   I feel like this review is getting pretty long, and it is just me going on about everything that I loved about this book, but the last thing that I wanted to mention that I liked about this book was Iris and Zoe. I (once again) loved the different friendship dynamics. This book did a great job of balancing out the romance, family, and the friendships, to a point where I wanted to read about all three and not just one (which is how I usually end up doing/feeling when reading contemporaries).
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Emma Mills stole my heart with this laugh out loud YA romance. The characters are so adorable you won't be able to put the book down.
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So..... I will definitely be buying a real copy. This was the best contemporary I've read in ya in the year. I loved this book even more than her first ones. Emma mills is an author on par with Sarah dessen. Can't wait to see what else she does.
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