Author: Emma Mills
Find the author: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Tumblr
Also by this author: This Adventure Ends
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company (BYR)
Publication date: December 5th 2017
Source: ARC from Raincoast Books (thank you!), Purchased from Amazon.com
Format: ARC, eBook
When Claudia accidentally eavesdrops on the epic breakup of Paige and Iris, the it-couple at her school, she finds herself in hot water with prickly, difficult Iris. Thrown together against their will in the class production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, along with the goofiest, cutest boy Claudia has ever known, Iris and Claudia are in for an eye-opening senior year.
Smart, funny, and thoroughly, wonderfully flawed, Claudia navigates a world of intense friendships and tentative romance in Emma Mills's Follish Hearts, a young adult novel about expanding your horizons, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and accepting—and loving—people for who they really are.
Review: Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills
This book. THIS BOOK. This book made me want to hug it to my chest, sigh, and start all over again. Emma Mills has done it again with Foolish Hearts. In fact, I would argue that Foolish Hearts surpasses her last two excellent books, First & Then and This Adventure Ends – and that’s saying a lot. Foolish Hearts is definitely one of my favorite contemporaries of 2017.
The plot features Claudia Wallace, a high school junior who ends up accidentally overhearing the school’s premier couple, Iris and Paige, breaking up. Claudia’s always been well-liked, but on the fringes of things. She’s not exactly a participant in everything at school, but she’s there sometimes.
Similarly, at home, Claudia is pretty comfortable just hanging with her family and best friend, and playing a role-playing video game. But the breakup sparks a series of events that forces Claudia to be part of the high school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream – throwing her in the path of new kids, Iris’ wrath, and the adorable, popular Gideon Prewett.
This might sound like an all-over-the-place synopsis, but trust me when I say this book works. It’s a fresh, brilliantly voiced story about self-respect, love, friendship and fandom.
If you’re a person who loves bands or gaming, this book will speak to you. Like in This Adventure Ends, Mills explores fandom and online obsessions in a way that is joyous and celebratory. There’s a respect and understanding of fandom that you won’t see in a lot of YA stories.
Like in her previous books, Mills creates amazingly likeable characters and funny, witty dialogue, and Claudia is no different. She’s so sarcastic and deadpan, but also genuinely nice. And the whole cast just feels so real and honest. Reading Foolish Hearts is like meeting old friends for the first time.
And omg, the butterflies. Gideon and Claudia just spark and you’ll spend the entire book just longing for them to get together.
For me, the brilliance of this book is in how Mills’ weaves the threads of the narrative so effortlessly. She’s a wizard at pivoting the plot and themes at just the right moment. The story builds naturally and evenly between Claudia’s relationships with Iris, Gideon, her best friend Zoe, her family and the rest of the play’s cast and crew.
I’m the kind of person who usually guesses where books are going as I read. Foolish Hearts had me enjoying every moment so much that I forgot to think ahead. Every chapter just had me fully in the moment.
The Final Word:
For my first read of 2018, Foolish Hearts was magnificent in its realness and delightful in its banter and heart-fluttery moments. I laughed, I sighed, and I actually looked forward to (and stayed up after) my late-night feedings with my newborn daughter so I could spend time in Claudia’s world. That’s the biggest compliment I can give. Read it now.
Have you read Foolish Hearts? Did you love it? How about Emma’s other books, First and Then or This Adventure Ends? Are you also obsessed with YA books about high school theatre (see: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda)? Hit the comments and let me know your thoughts.