Saturday, August 11, 2018

Review: Foolish Hearts

Title: Foolish Hearts
Author: Emma Mills
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Goodreads        Chapters        IndieBound

After accidentally witnessing the resident the breakup of the It couple of her elite all-girls school Claudia isn't expecting senior year to be a breeze. She's now on the wrong side of the meanest girl in school, and they're both being forced to try out for the school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Unexpectedly, her involvement in the play leads to new friendships, a boy band obsession, and possibly a new romance; as everything begins to change around her.

Out of Ten: 8/10

Review at a Glance: a great coming-of-age story with a strong focus on friendship and finding things that interest and delight you.

Review: I think Emma Mills has superpowers. She's able to make some of the most resonant, real-feeling realistic fiction I've picked up in the past few years. I'm not much of a realistic fiction reader because I haven't encountered much that feels really familiar. (Ironically this isn't a problem I tend to have with speculative fiction but I have... no idea why that is).

Foolish Hearts is a quick read, and overall pretty light (which was welcome, coming off of reading the entire Harry Potter series in a week). It's a really nice story about being passionate about things, and about figuring out how to be invested in things and just... it's just nice, I guess? There's a lot of emphasis on relationships, old and new, or all kinds.

Arguably the new relationship that forms a backbone of the story is Claudia's friendship with Violet- it's more a story about falling in friendship than one falling in love- which is often the main plot of these kinds of contemporary stories... not necessarily a bad thing but seeing a friendship be the focus is always refreshing. It isn't just the relationships but how Emma Mills constructs them, in a way that feels really organic, which is kind of an extension of how she creates characters (similarly organic).

The relationships in this book shift and change over the course of the story, which are both shape and are shaped by the changes in the characters themselves. These are very evident in Claudia's relationships with her friends and family, but also Iris (particularly the friendship between the two of them, but also Iris's relationship with her (ex)-girlfriend). The romances in the story have a very strong friendship component as well, which is always wonderful to see (because you know. You should  be friends with the person you're dating. Otherwise why bother?) Emma Mills starts with some reasonably familiar character archetypes, and breathes new life into them, partly by adding character traits and partly by changing the interactions between the characters, and it winds up working really well. The result is a quiet, personal, and engaging story.

Also having read all three of Emma Mills's books I wonder if she like... knew at least one extremely charismatic person when in high school? Because there's always at least one in each book. I could be totally wrong maybe it's just a thing with her writing but... wondering if it comes from somewhere? Anyway. Not the point. Well, maybe a side-point, but not the main point.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one! Emma Mills writes what I guess are my favourite contemporary coming of age stories. I really like the way she builds friendships and the details of character's lives. I'm looking forward to whatever she puts out next!

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  1. I have yet to read a book by Emma Mills and you have convinced me to give this one a try. I am all for books about friendships. I am so glad that you have enjoyed so many of this author's novels. :)

    1. Friendship books are fantastic! I'm glad you're thinking about giving this one a try and I'd love to hear what you think if/when you do pick it up.