by Emma Mills
Review by Emma Shacochis
Foolish Hearts, by Emma Mills, is hands down one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. In all of her young adult novels, including This Adventure Ends andFamous In A Small Town, Mills features a teenage girl with a close-knit group of friends – and a skill for one-liners – trying to fit in in her community. Foolish Hearts follows Claudia, an outsider at her private school, as she accidentally witnesses the breakup of the school’s most popular couple, Paige and Iris. When Claudia and the spiky, reserved Iris are forced to participate in the school play together, they begin a tentative friendship. Claudia attempts to help reconcile Iris with Paige, while trying to stay connected with her growing-distant best friend and developing a crush on the play’s charismatic lead, Gideon.
From a purely aesthetic standpoint, Emma Mills’s books are a treat – Foolish Heart’s cover features tiny stitches and stripes in an assortment of colors. But her writing of teenagers, especially their friend groups, never feels false or melodramatic. It’s rare but delightful when an author can make you want to be friends with all of the characters, not just the main. Claudia and the friends she makes through the play, a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (the book gets its title from the dialogue), have witty, grin-inducing interactions; all of the dialogue is so realistic to how teenagers talk in the twenty-first century, full of sarcasm and poop culture references.
Claudia and Iris’s odd-couple friendship develops into the book’s greatest strength. Despite their differences in personality and social status, the two bond through Iris’s love of a fictional boy band that she shares with Claudia. Scenes where the two listen to the band’s music and midnight and rank their favorite songs help the friendship grow organically – even a single shares interest can make for an investing and entertaining duo.
All of Emma Mills’s books will make you beam, but Foolish Hearts is a fast-paced, touching, and inexpressibly hilarious read that will make your own heart grow.