Foolish Hearts, by Emma Mills
Publish Date: December 5, 2017
Published by: Henry Holt and Co.
Genre: YA Contemporary/Romance
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5 out of 5 stars)
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.
This was an absolute doll of a book. It made me laugh so much and I loved it. It was cute and funny, with some loveable characters (although I’m still not convinced Gideon Prewitt could actually exist. He is just too good for this world), and a storyline that was simple but full of such wonder, joy, and a nice touch of drama.
I think my only issues were how she kind of paused to explain the details of an online game that Claudia and her family play, and giving the rundown of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The first one I didn’t care about -I would have been fine gleaning the story arc of the game just from their interactions with it. The second one I felt a little rubbed the wrong way about – you think I, someone who picked up this book solely for the reason that you chose that play for them to put on, wouldn’t know what one of my favorite Shakespeares is about??? I mean, yeah sure I guess not everyone knows, but honestly I feel like most people going into this book probably do. They were just…clinical moments that sort of took me out of the rhythm of the story for a page before going back.
Also I didn’t care for how Claudia handled/reacted to a certain revelation at the end – it felt a little cliche. But then again I’ve never been in a situation like that so I don’t really know if that is how I would react or not? For me it was mostly the secret-keeping of it that felt hurtful. As it is, looking at all the advice she was given and the self-realizations she made, it was clear why she reacted the way she did.
In fact I really like Claudia’s character -she was kind and sarcastic, extremely quick-witted, and always willing to give people a chance. I loved seeing her friendship with Iris grow especially, considering how things started out with her. And I especially loved how relatable she was in the sense that she put up these invisible walls to protect herself because even though she could see the potential with Gideon, she was terrified of being hurt again and was too scared to look too closely.
And again, Gideon is such a sweetheart. Like at first I thought he wasn’t for real. He was too nice, too caring – I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop but it never did. He is just an extremely nice guy who is also a softie and is probably for real a life form from another planet. Soggy cereal, seriously? Ew.
Anyway, the pacing was good, the storyline was simple but fun and enjoyable, with a good amount of drama laced throughout and making a major stand at the end, a cute romance that dragged itself out nicely with just the right touch if angst, a strong storyline about friendships and change, and of course the inner workings of a high school theatre department putting on a Shakespeare play. I think the dialogue was probably the strongest, of course, with some seriously great one-liners and back-and-forths. It made me laugh and smile, ache and get angry at some of Claudia’s poor life choices, but overall was an incredibly fun and enjoyable read.