I’ve been trying to get to reading Foolish Hearts for about a year now. I received the novel in an OwlCrate in December 2017. The moment I read the synopsis I was sold on the concept. I’m not normally a huge fan of Shakespeare, but I think Emma Mills incorporated the play Midsummer Night’s Dream gloriously.
As for our characters, I fell utterly in love with Gideon. At first I pictured him as the typical jocky dude who is a ladies’ man and knows it. However, the more I got to know him throughout the course of the novel, the more I loved him. Mills did an incredible job at showing his vulnerabilities. As a woman, it can be difficult to understand the turmoil boys go through when all the pressure of dating is placed on their shoulders. We sometimes fail to see the nerves or sensitivities underneath their gruff or cocky exteriors.
Gideon also shows a development in young men that I never got to see when I was in school. He was concerned about how his actions were impacting Claudia. He made sure that his advancements were not unwanted. He wasn’t doing it to save his own ass, but rather to make sure she was comfortable and safe. He always had her well-being in mind when he was talking to her and trying to get to know her better.
He was also the best friend anyone could have asked for. His friendship with Noah is what I aspire for myself. I want to be as good of a friend to my best friend as he is to his. He gives up normal teenage activities like drinking and loud parties for the safety of his best friend, who (SPOILERS) has epilepsy. He risks looking like an asshole to his friends by shunning a party because of its “styrofoam cups” so he did not embarrass his best friend. The party had strobe lights, and even through Noah’s epilepsy is not triggered by strobe, Gideon still redirected the party of friends to another location because he didn’t want to risk his friend’s life.
Enough about the new fictional love of my life. Claudia as a main character was pretty darn good. I felt I related to her as a fish out of water. I also related to her in the dating department. She simply could not see that Gideon was flirting with her, mostly because she thought he flirted with everyone. This, of course, was not true. We was nice to everyone else, but FLIRTED with Claudia. The day I was reading this, my best friend and I went to a breakfast place in our town and our waiter was flirting with me hardcore. I wasn’t sure at first, but with the heavy eye contact and lingering a bit too long on conversations, we were both sure. Unfortunately, unlike Gideon and Claudia, I did not go for it, but I sure wish I had after finishing this book.
I loved the representation of a lesbian couple in this story. Not only their presence, but their prominence. Sure, they break up in the first twenty pages of the book, but Iris, the stony, seemingly heartless one of the couple, goes on a massive redemption arc (I described it as this before the book even brought it up, so there Emma Mills). We as an audience go from despising Iris to rooting her on in her quest to regain her ex-girlfriend, Paige’s trust. To see a same sex couple be portrayed as a normal occurrence is refreshing and wonderful. Mills does an incredible job showing that same sex couples go through the same type of problems as straight couples do, and they have to work through those problems like a straight couple would. Just because they are of the same sex does not mean they think the same.
I think, however, I would like to see a sequence where Iris comes out to her parents, since she mentions that they do not know about Paige and her relationship. I know that was one of the most difficult discussions I had with my mother. Not the coming out part but telling her that I had been seeing my best friend romantically, and she had been spending the night without my mom being aware of our relationship. Whoops.
Overall, I knew I was going to like this book. However, I didn’t know how much I was going to like this book. I gave it four stars because of the couple bits I was lacking or parts I simply did not connect to, like Claudia playing the MMORPG, but I got so much out of the story that I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a cute YA novel for their summer.