Hey Virtually readers! I know Shanti already reviewed this, but I’m very tired and running out of reviews, so find out what I thought about Foolish Hearts here.
Title: Foolish Hearts
Author: Emma Mills
Genre: YA Contemporary
Themes: Friendship, theatre
My blurb: Claudia’s about to start senior year, but she’s already got her life figured out. Study hard, under the radar at her private girl’s school, with people she likes but no true friends. Go home and play her favourite RPG with her brother and best friend at home. Repeat.
But when she’s somehow signed up to work on her school’s production of AMidsummer Night’s Dream, Claudia’s forced to interact with her schoolmates on a deeper level than before. And as the family and friendship’s she’s always relied on change, she might need to learn that her world is worth expanding.
Blurbs can’t really do justice to this book, because it’s so character-focused. While on the outside it had all the elements of just another YA contemporary, it’s one that was so well written and compelling that it was bigger than its borders and made me want to read it in one day.
There were lots of big reasons I liked this, but here’s some small ones: Girls. Playing RPGs. I really liked the RPG aspect of it, just because it was cool and unusual.// Cross-school friendships//Older siblings, like married ones (not something that’s ever happened to me but!!)//A Midsummer Nights Dream+ being a crew member//People who don’t like parties//Bus trips, not clichéd road trips//Boy-band fandom
Like I said, though, Foolish Hearts is mostly about the characters. While it was basically a romance, I liked how friendship and family were such major themes.
Claudia starts the book with one best friend and nothing else. I loved her growth to realise that there were in fact people worth spending time with at school, and the way her friendship with Zoe evolves as she makes space for the new people in her life (and realises that Zoe also has friends other than herself. Like. Wut.). Her friendship with Iris, who at the beginning of the book isn’t very likeable, was so, so richly written and complex, you know? Emma Mills clearly gets friendship.
I also liked the focus on family. Claudia is actually friends with her brother, which was nice; I feel like there’s often an annoying-younger-brother trope in contemporary novels, or occasionally a cool-older-brother one, but instead a friendly, dorky brother was really great. And I liked how she had a way older sister, equally geeky. I think big age gaps in siblings are uncommon in YA books, but less uncommon in real life (I have a 9 year age gap with my youngest sibling, for example), and it was nice to see that written about.
And the romance. Let’s just say this was one of those books that made me really want an awesome, adorkable boyfriend. (I am currently lacking in this department, which is fine seeing as I’m 18 and still lock myself inside cupboards, but still… XD) Gideon was such a great character, round and interesting and leaving me with unrealistic expectations. I very much shipped the ship.
This book had plenty of tropes: school plays, parties, and kisses (not enough. never enough). But at its heart was amazing writing and great characters. I really reallyliked it.