The Contemporary YA I Love: Breaking the Ice by Julie Cross & Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

The Contemporary YA I Love: Breaking the Ice by Julie Cross & Foolish Hearts by Emma MillsBreaking the Ice (Juniper Falls, #2)
by Julie Cross
Release Date: December 26th 2017
Published by Entangled Publishing
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Format: eARC
Pages: 300
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Source: ARC received for review purposes

The second book in the Juniper Falls series from NY Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Julie Cross, perfect for fans of Miranda Kenneally and Abbi Glines.

Haley Stevenson seems like she’s got it all together: cheer captain, “Princess” of Juniper Falls, and voted Most Likely to Get Things Done. But below the surface, she’s struggling with a less-than-stellar GPA and still reeling from the loss of her first love. Repeating her Civics class during summer school is her chance to Get Things Done, not angst over boys. In fact, she’s sworn them off completely until college.

Fletcher Scott is happy to keep a low profile around Juniper Falls. He’s always been the invisible guy, warming the bench on the hockey team and moonlighting at a job that would make his grandma blush. Suddenly, though, he’s finding he wants more: more time on the ice, and more time with his infuriatingly perfect summer-school study partner.

But leave it to a girl who requires perfection to shake up a boy who’s ready to break all the rules.

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Breaking the Ice was so good, you guys. I’ve loved every book that I’ve read from Julie Cross, and going into this second book in the Juniper Falls series, I had high expectations. I’m a sucker for a good opposites attract story, and I knew that Julie Cross would do the book justice since she’s fantastic at writing scorching chemistry between her couples. Breaking the Ice is definitely at the top of my favorite YA contemporary romances, and favorite Julie Cross books.

I knew from the very first page that I would be hooked, line and sinker into this story. Breaking the Ice is told through the compelling voices of Haley and Fletcher, two people who could not be more different from each other. They both find themselves in summer school, and these two kids who’ve never really interacted before are forced to be around each other. I’m sure you can already imagine what ensues! 😉 I loved both Hayley and Fletcher’s characters. They were different, but equally likable. Haley is the popular girl at her school, a cheerleader, and known as the town princess. Fletcher, on the other hand, is the quiet, smart kid who seems to have layers and layers to his character. As a result of his deadly food allergies, he’s been forced to live somewhat of a sheltered life. He also has a secret job that he’s not very open about – don’t worry, it’s nothing illegal. Both were such mature and thoughtful characters and I think that’s primarily what made them work so well as a couple.

The romance, you guys! Ahhhh!! I loved it so much. I pretty much shipped it from the very start. It’s full of witty banter,  swoony moments and delicious chemistry. Because Fletcher is a little guarded with his emotions and tends to keep his distance from people, there’s a bit of animosity between the two at first, but that quickly turns into an unexpected friendship as Haley and Fletcher are paired up for an assignment. There’s a lot of attraction between the two throughout, but the actual romance is very much of a slow-burn one and I absolutely loved the progression. Breaking the Ice is also a sex-positive book. The book discusses the female orgasm and doesn’t shy away from the discomfort, the awkwardness and all the other mixed feelings that can come from that for a teenage girl. We also get a great secondary cast here, all the family members, friends, and more made the book even better.

If you haven’t read any of Julie Cross’ books yet, then you need to rethink your decision, especially if you love YA contemporaries with romances that will set your heart aflutter! I can’t wait to see what she writes next. 🙂

The Contemporary YA I Love: Breaking the Ice by Julie Cross & Foolish Hearts by Emma MillsFoolish Hearts
by Emma Mills
Release Date: December 5th 2017
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Format: eARC
Pages: 320
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Source: ARC received for review purposes

A contemporary novel about a girl whose high school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream leads her to new friends—and maybe even new love.

The day of the last party of the summer, Claudia overhears a conversation she wasn't supposed to. Now on the wrong side of one of the meanest girls in school, Claudia doesn't know what to expect when the two are paired up to write a paper—let alone when they're both forced to try out for the school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

But mandatory participation has its upsides—namely, an unexpected friendship, a boy band obsession, and a guy with the best dimpled smile Claudia's ever seen. As Claudia's world starts to expand, she finds that maybe there are some things worth sticking her neck out for.

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Can Emma Mills write a bad book? I think not! Having absolutely loved both First & Then and This Adventure Ends, I was keenly looking forward to reading Foolish Hearts. Yet again, Mills has written a heartwarming story about friendship, family and love. She does a brilliant job with the combination and I hope she never stops writing these stories for teens.

I think it says a lot about an author when you wind up caring for every single character introduced in her book. Foolish Hearts may be told in Claudia’s POV, but every character introduced is important to the story, and I could not get enough of them. Claudia, herself, is a fabulous protagonist, who I think a lot of readers will themselves in. She’s a total sweetheart, and it’s hard not to like her! She’s a little quiet at first, but once we get to know her, we see the witty, snarky girl underneath all the awkwardness. She’s such a normal girl, and I absolutely loved that about her. While Claudia is the main character, it’s Iris who stole the show for me. From the first scene we meet her, I thought I knew the sort of character she was going to be, the stereotypical mean girl, but there is so much more to her and you really get to see a lot of growth to her character as the story moves along.

The unexpected friendship between Claudia and Iris was the star of Foolish Hearts. The two don’t exactly start off on the right foot – Claudia accidentally overhears Iris’ girlfriend breaking up with her after a heated argument at a party, and Iris decides that she hates Claudia. They are pushed to work together on an assignment, and then eventually for the school play, and they develop a shaky but very sweet friendship. I loved every moment of their relationship, because it’s depicted with a lot of realness. Claudia also finds love in Foolish Hearts was an adorable doofus of a boy, Gideon, who I also adored with every fiber of my being. If you’ve read Mills’ romances, you know that she makes the couple really get to know each other before they even begin to think about a relationship, and she does the same here. I loved watching the two of the interact, and be all cute together. Claudia’s relationship with her siblings was also brilliantly portrayed here, showing both the ups and downs of having a sister and a brother.

Foolish Hearts is honestly a story about the relationships a person can have, and as you can probably tell, the relationships are built really well. I couldn’t get enough of this book! Be sure to pick this one up on your next book shopping adventure. You won’t regret it.

What are some of your latest favorite YA contemporary books?
Let me know in the comments below!

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