Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Foolish Hearts

Half the fun of any book subscription is guessing ahead of time what the book will be. When I figured out this was the Owlcrate Dec. book, I was disappointed. It sounded like a normal, silly contemporary. I wasn’t all that interested in reading it. After reading this book, however, I think it’s high time I start reading more YA contemporaries. I’ve read plenty of fantasy and sci-fi this year, but only the contemporaries I read consistently impressed me.

The Summary

Claudia over hears an uncomfortable break up from the star couple, Paige and Iris, at her all-girls school. As bad luck would have it, Claudia is stuck working on the first big assignment of the year with Iris, the meaner, colder half of that former couple. And they fail the assignment. To make up for the failing grade, they have to participate in the upcoming Midsummers Night Dream school play with the neighboring all-boys school. There are several important questions to answer: Will Claudia and Iris ever become friends? Will Paige and Iris get over the post break-up awkwardness they encounter while working on this play? Will Claudia get a chance to make out with the cute guy Gideon, who keeps giving her attention? Can Claudia singlehandedly save this play by teaching everyone how to understand Shakespeare?

The Analysis

So, real talk now. There is a very specific reason why I connected so much with this book. Why? I am Claudia. I can see myself saving the play for Shakespeare novices, all while working in the costume department. More importantly, however, is that I once had a Gideon-type guy in my life. (Just replace the play with an internship and you basically have the same dynamic here. Cause the guy I liked, and who possibly liked me back, was exactly like Gideon.) And I treated “Gideon” in the same horrible way that Claudia did, for the same insecurities. The difference here is that Claudia eventually makes up (and makes out) with Gideon. I never did with mine, and probably never will. Reading this book was like falling into an alternate timeline of my life, narrated by me, but with a happy ending with the guy I like instead. It made reading this book incredibly bizarre. It also made me regretful. But the past is the past, and I need to move on.

So yeah. Claudia is me, but with a redemption arc. So I love her. But she isn’t the only aspect of the book I love.

Teens learned about Shakespeare, through one of his most confusing plays. I love it.

There’s a fictional boy band stand-in for any band or singer the public’s ever been utterly obsessed with. I love it.

An unlikely friendship forms between initial enemies Claudia and Iris. I love it.

The plot of this book feels distinctly real. Teens were behaving in accurate teenish ways. I love it.

And, last but not least, the title perfectly encapsulates the story in this book. These characters (including the paralleled ones from Midsummers Night Dream) all have foolish hearts. So do I. So do most of us? But, sometimes, a foolish heart can bring something good.

I could go into the few things in this book I didn’t enjoy, but I don’t want to. Just note that there is at least one significant plot thread missing from this review. It’s one I didn’t enjoy, and anxiously tried to speed read through to get to the plots I like. Foolish Hearts is not a perfect read, but it’s a read I needed.

Here is where you, my loyal blog reader, comes in. I want some recs. Give a suggestion like Foolish HeartsEliza and Her Monsters or Turtles All the Way Down. (All fave books of mine this year.) I need some more excellent contemporary in my life. Your rec will probably be in a future review! Comment below.

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