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Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger

Hard Love (edition 2004)

by Ellen Wittlinger

Series: Marisol (1)

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8302316,169 (3.75)24
Title:Hard Love
Authors:Ellen Wittlinger
Info:Simon & Schuster Ltd (2004), Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:YA lit

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Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger


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» See also 24 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
I loved this book. It still remains one of the few to this day that I've read more than once; and at the time, it was the first I've read that connected with my own struggle to understand my own sexuality, even if I had yet to confront it.

It certainly isn't the most prolific read, but it's a good read nonetheless. ( )
  omgitsafox | Jul 23, 2018 |
I’ve had this book on my wish list for years, so I was so happy when I finally got my hands on it. Thanks Mom!

I was expecting to like Hard Love, but I ended up loving it. It was so good that I read it in one sitting. I know that isn’t saying much since it’s not a very big book, but I’ve been struggling with reading lately, so the fact that I was able to do that surprised me.

I basically loved every single thing about this book. I think the only thing I didn’t like was that Marisol is always saying she’s a lesbian. I understand why she is always saying it, but after a while it’s just like you’re gay, we get it. Other than that I had no problems. This might even be one of my favorite books now. I really need to get my hands on Love & Lies: Marisol’s Story. ( )
  TheTreeReader | Dec 28, 2017 |
While dealing with emotional trauma from growing up in a broken home, John falls in love for the first time with Marisol, a lesbian.

For some reason I expected this book to be gritty, but I actually found it rather sweet, or maybe bittersweet. I can relate to John's romantic angst, as I imagine most people could -- I've certainly been there, more than once, loving somebody who couldn't or wouldn't love me back. This is a Printz honor book, and though I don't always love the Printz committee's selections, I agree with them in this case. Recommended. ( )
  foggidawn | Dec 31, 2016 |
Excellent YA lit. The characters break out of the mold of boring, conformist high school character and succeed in being fascinating, original, believable characters who fully exist outside their high schools' social structures. I really enjoyed the author's mix of John's friendship with Marisol with his relationships with his parents. A mother who ceased to touch him at all after her divorce and a father who considers Friday-night dinners fulfillment of his paternal duties added to the complexity of John's character. Without being either dull or overwrought with drama, "Hard Love" manages to elicit honest emotion in a world of convincing, interesting characters. And it's even funny too. ( )
  csoki637 | Nov 27, 2016 |
Rare among Young Adult fiction—or just about any fiction, for that matter—*Hard Love* tells the story of a friendship between a presumptively heterosexual teenage boy, John, and a lesbian teenager, Marisol. Despite the somewhat predictable trajectory of the narrative (to no one’s surprise but his own, John falls in love with Marisol), the novel navigates the murky waters of unrequited love beneath the broken bridge of incompatible sexual orientations in a way that both reaffirms young adult sexual identity and convincingly reflects the bittersweet experience of teenage romance.

John, who is somewhat of a social misfit, is trying his best to cope with his parents’ divorce and the overall disillusionment that most adolescents endure. He turns to zines for creativity and comfort. (The novel is set in the 1990s, so the focus on zines—which now seem quaint—is historically accurate. The noticeable absence of cell phones in the story also feels odd, considering their central role in contemporary teen culture.) John becomes enamored of a zine called Escape Velocity and vows to meet its author, Marisol. He greets her with his own zine, Bananafish, and the two become fast but unlikely friends.

Literacy—and the developmental power of writing and reading—help shape John’s identity throughout the course of the novel. He even adopts a nom de plume (Gio) as he tries to envision himself as a writer, friend, neglected son (like many teenagers, John has some major beefs with both of his parents), would-be romantic partner, and—most traumatic of all—prom attendee. Although Wittlinger might lay it on a bit thick with these teens’ devotion to zines, the emotions she portrays are always genuine and credible. She successfully depicts her characters as thoughtful, reflective, autonomous teens who are well aware of the challenges they face. ( )
  jimrgill | Feb 4, 2016 |
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I am immune to emotion. I have been ever since I can remember. Which is helpful when people appeal to my sympathy. I don't seem to have any.
It seemed like she was playing a game with idiotic rules. First you laugh, then you tell a pretty lie, then you stick your tongue in each others mouths, then you say something really mean and hurtful to each other, then you go off to find somebody else who wants to play the game. This is an activity for intelligent people? I think not.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 068984154X, Paperback)

John Galardi is a loner, unable to express his feelings except in the pages of his zine, "Bananafish." He finds inspiration in another zine, "Escape Velocity," created by Marisol Guzman, a self-proclaimed "rich spoiled lesbian private-school gifted-and-talented writer virgin." Her sharp observations make John laugh out loud and he decides he must meet this witty author. By planting himself in Tower Records the day she drops off the latest issue, John manages to arrange a coffee date that extends over several Saturday mornings. They discuss everything from John's inability to feel and his parent's divorce to Marisol's problems with her suffocating adoptive parents. When Marisol casually tells John that she likes him, he is flabbergasted: "Honest to God a shiver ran through my body... Nobody ever said that they liked me. Ever. Not even [my friend] Brian, who probably actually doesn't." After a disastrous "just friends" junior prom date and a weekend zine conference spent together, John realizes that his feelings for Marisol are more than platonic. And Marisol, who is exploring her identity as a young lesbian, has no idea how to let John down gently without losing her new best friend.

Like Barbara Wersba's Whistle Me Home, Hard Love tackles the delicate issue of unrequited love between a straight and gay teen. But what sets this novel apart from similarly themed books is Wittlinger's choice to present the story from John's straight male point of view. Funny and poignant first-person narration will engender empathy for John as he attempts to connect with his emotionally distant parents and an understanding of how his need for their affection has manifested itself in romantic feelings for a girl he knows is unavailable to him. Hard Love is a thoughtful and on-target addition to the growing canon of gay and lesbian coming-of-age stories. (Ages 12 and older) --Jennifer Hubert

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:50 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

After starting to publish a zine in which he writes his secret feelings about his lonely life and his parents' divorce, sixteen-year-old John meets an unusual girl and begins to develop a healthier personality.

(summary from another edition)

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