‘Sup readers? Welcome to this week’s On The Shelf, a column expressly dedicated to brand new literature, because readers are superfans, too! Each week, I pick apart a new release and let you know if it’s worth enough hype to merit a physical copy, if it will better serve you as an ebook, or if it’s not worth your attention. There are so many books, so little time, and not all of them can be winners. Particularly around the holidays, when you may be stretching your book budget thin— not necessarily to treat yourself, but to share the gift of stories with other people.
This week’s read was Foolish Hearts Emma Mills. Foolish Hearts is a short, fluffy contemporary with a drama geek twist— I started it on Tuesday (the day of the book’s release) and devoured it in a few hours. It was nothing short of YA perfection. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with a summary:
When Claudia accidentally overhears— okay, it was 50% accidental, 50% she was too invested in eavesdropping to excuse herself. Plus, it’s not like she could reveal herself, that would be awkward— a massive, break-up-inducing fight between sweet, approachable Paige and steely, stern Iris, the “It” couple at her school (an incredibly competitive, elite, all-girls institution), Iris promises to make Claudia’s life hell. But neither of them are expecting, or thrilled, when they’re paired up in class to write a paper, and further commandeered to work on the school production of A Midsummer Night Dream— a joint effort between their school and the boys’ school just across the way.
But being forced to participate in a play is the best thing for shy, reticent Claudia— its medically-proven benefits include: meeting an eccentric boy with adorable dimples, becoming a fan of a surprisingly-catchy boy band in a completely unironic way, and unexpected (but genuine all the same) friendships.
That’s right! Swoon-worthy love interests, boy bands, high school hijinks! What more could you ask for from a YA contemporary that aspires to be soft as a marshmallow and succeeds tenfold, but leaves a mark anyway?
Mills’s characters are no doubt the best part of this novel. She has a knack for writing people who could actually exist. The humour (and there is tons of it. I really appreciated this because it was so true-to-life. You can be reading an emotional scene and one snarky comment slips in, and it’s like a cherry on top of the well-written sundae) is organic, the emotion is palpable, and the book itself is perfectly-paced. Nothing ever drags, and Mills has a unique way of expressing other people’s thoughts and feelings, though Claudia is the main character and the book is written in first person.
I also really liked Gideon. Hyper-friendly, hyper-eccentric, and hyperactive in general, the chemistry between he and Claudia was off the charts. One of the things I absolutely judge when romance is involved in a plotline is how authentic it is, and Mills gets all the points for making Claudia and Gideon a real, true OTP.
Not only do I want everyone who loves YA contemporary to get this book over the holidays, but I also want a TV adaptation of it ASAP.
Foolish Hearts has absolutely earned its place on the shelf, and if you want to join in on the fun (this book is so much fun), you can pick up a copy here.
On The Shelf rating: 5 foolish hearts out of 5