When Claudia accidentally overhears the breakup fight involving her high school’s hottest couple—Paige and Iris—she’s mortified and terrified. Iris, who discovers Claudia “spying,” tells her to keep her mouth shut or else. Iris is known for being cold and mean, so getting on her bad side is an unfortunate way to start senior year. To make matters worse, when Claudia and Iris are paired on a class project and do poorly, they must audition for the school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for extra credit.
Cautious by nature, Claudia has held herself apart from her private school classmates for the past three years, preferring the company of her childhood best friend, Zoe. Iris has been dumped by most of her girlfriends, who obviously favored kind and enthusiastic Paige. But working together brings Claudia and Iris closer, and also brings Claudia into the orbit of the ridiculously charming Gideon Prewitt. With the help of her old friends, new friends and Gideon, will Claudia be able to learn that starting something new—even if it might end someday—is worth it?
Emma Mills’ Foolish Hearts boasts a strikingly large array of named characters, but this constellation of interconnected classmates, friends and family members is what makes Claudia’s universe so realistic. Mills skillfully portrays the tentative joy found in sharing a passion with a new friend, as well as the profound comfort of routines with old friends and family. With the themes of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream woven subtly throughout, Foolish Hearts is a detailed, convincing high school story about opening your heart to all kinds of love, and how to fight to preserve it.