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Heart on My Sleeve

Heart on My Sleeve

3.7 29
by Ellen Wittlinger

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Told entirely via email, instant messages, letters, and postcards, this novel tells of two teens' long-distance relationship after they meet at a college visit during senior year of high school.

"I'm not picking Cartwright just because I met Julian there. For all I know he'll change his mind and not even go! Although that would be a shame because I want


Told entirely via email, instant messages, letters, and postcards, this novel tells of two teens' long-distance relationship after they meet at a college visit during senior year of high school.

"I'm not picking Cartwright just because I met Julian there. For all I know he'll change his mind and not even go! Although that would be a shame because I want him to be the father of my firstborn child. KIDDING! :-}"
     While on a college visit, Chloe meets Julian, another prospective freshman, and infatuated, the two high school seniors begin a long-distance relationship. Chloe is thrilled that she'll have a boyfriend at college, although she doesn't know how to break the news to Eli, her best friend whom she's sort of dating. As Chloe and Julian prepare to meet again, they must face the question of whether their relationship is based on who they really are or who they imagine each other to be.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Two teens become smitten with each other during a college preview weekend, and readers learn about their lives through e-mails, instant messages and letters. "Chloe and Julian's fate may be fairly obvious, but most readers will applaud the author for imagining-and maintaining-such a complete world," said PW. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, July 2004: Wittlinger has been a successful author of YA novels such as Hard Love, Razzle, and Zig Zag. Here she tells a story through e-mails and letters, still somewhat of a novelty in YA fiction. The cast of characters are Chloe, looking ahead to college in the fall; Julian, a singer she thinks is coming to the same college; Ely, Chloe's friend and boyfriend; Genevieve, Chloe's older sister who reveals she is gay; Kate, Chloe's best friend; Julian's older sister, who has just gotten married, and Chloe and Genevieve's parents. The reader has to patiently go through endless e-mails, including instant messages, and some handwritten cards and letters to follow the events of the summer as the high school students make the transition necessary to leave home and go off to college. This includes dreams of new loves (Chloe and Julian imagine a future together), breakups of old loves, new understanding of parents' lives, and so forth. Everyone is well-meaning, stumbling along, making mistakes and having some successes as well. The final summer before college is a milestone in teenagers' lives, and Wittlinger uses the e-mail format to tell the story of one group of teens during this crucial time. KLIATT Codes: JS--Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, Simon & Schuster, Pulse, 219p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Claire Rosser
Children's Literature
Chloe is a high school senior who cannot believe her luck when she meets Julian at a college visit. The two immediately fall for each other and begin a long distance romance. The biggest problem is Chloe's boyfriend, Eli, who has no idea that Chloe wants to break up with him! Things come to a head when an unknowing Julian sends flowers to Chloe just as she is leaving for the prom. The aftermath shakes her world. Eli is heartbroken at this betrayal, her prom is ruined, and even her best friend stops talking to her. Forced to break up with Eli, Chloe wonders if she did the right thing. As she and Julian prepare to meet again, Chloe must decide if what they shared that weekend was real. In addition to her complicated love life, Chloe's sister Genevieve reveals a secret that completely throws Chloe for a loop. As her world turns chaotic, Chloe must sort through it all and figure out what it is she truly desires. Told entirely through letters, emails, Instant Messages, and postcards, this innovative novel is a pleasure to read. Wittlinger is extremely clever in how she structures this story, delivering a tale that is warm hearted and funny. 2004, Simon and Schuster, Ages 12 up.
—Zeta Shearill
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-This epistolary novel combines e-mails, instant messages, "old-fashioned" pen-and-paper letters, and postcards to tell a story that is familiar to many teens poised between the friendships and romances of high school and the promise of new social possibilities in college. Seniors Chloe, of Massachusetts, and Julian, from Florida, meet and create sparks with one another during a visit to the college each plans to attend. Back home, they cope with how to treat current or potential love interests, best friends, parents, and sisters who have their own baggage. The two teens fan the flames of their mutual attraction through regular correspondence, not only with one another, but also with their recently independent older siblings. Wittlinger handles all of these relationships credibly and engagingly. While the parents seem to be close to moronic-especially in Chloe's case-all of the involved young people, as well as more minor characters, are individuated and realistic. Subplots include Chloe's sister's gay identity, the uncertainties inherent in beginning college and learning to create one's identity anew, and class differences, which are gracefully and authentically depicted. While the novel's structure sometimes seems artificial-all of the characters are articulate and concise writers-the story is meaty and offers a variety of access points. The title is apt, describing a state known to many if not most older teens.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This modern epistolary tale (emails and IMs joining handwritten letters and postcards) is voyeuristically enjoyable. As senior year draws to a close, Chloe visits a college and meets Julian there. The two immediately bond and begin dating (sort of) long-distance. In Massachusetts, Chloe wrestles with how this affects her relationship with friend-since-kindergarten Eli; in Florida, Julian resists being set up with adoring Nina. When Julian's older sister suddenly gets married and Chloe comes out of the closet, sibling and parent relationships enter the picture. The parents are less believable throughout than the kids (ages 18-22). Chloe and Julian become so smitten over the summer that when he comes to Boston in August for a singing scholarship competition, they're shocked and resentful to discover that they don't know each other all that well. A successful use of multiple viewpoints and an interesting exploration of the implied intimacy of various forms of non-verbal communication. (Fiction. 11-14)
From the Publisher
"...teenage readers discovering Wittlinger for the first time, as I have, won't be able to get enough of her."

LINDA NEWBERY, author of The Shell House.

"Wittlinger's novel - about genuinely connecting, not just communicating - will hook readers, both with its lovestruck but thoughtful main characters and with its realistic-looking but easy-to-follow layout of e-mails, instant messages, and handwritten letters flying back and forth among the protagonists and their friends and family."


Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
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File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Heart on My Sleeve

By Wittlinger, Ellen

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Copyright © 2004 Wittlinger, Ellen
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0689849974

Chapter One: April

Subj: Are You Out There?

Date: 4/22/02, 9:37 A.M.

From: smallboyonherbike@boscore.com

To: jghost@flowire.com

Hey Julian!

Some weekend, huh? I was so tired last night, but couldn't sleep at all -- got up at 3 A.M., took my guitar into the downstairs bathroom (most soundproof place in the house), and started writing a new song. Too soon to tell if it's any good. (Maybe if I could hear you sing it, I'd know.) :)

I was so worried beforehand about going to visit Cartwright to meet hundreds of potential new classmates. You know, it sounded so perfect in the catalog, but what if I got there and hated the place? What if all the other pre-frosh were jerks? Or what if they were all brilliant or something? But I loved it, didn't you? Especially the open mic night -- that sold me. Now I keep thinking, what if I hadn't applied to Cartwright, or what if I'd chosen a college based on something totally not important, like the advice of my guidance counselor (who thinks if you don't go to Harvard you should just forget about it and go to a state school). I told my parents to send in the money to Cartwright today!

You're probably too busy for much e-mailing this week since Godspell opens on Friday. After hearing you sing Saturday night I know you'll be amazing. Break a leg! (Do people really say that? Or just dorks like me?)


Subj: The Great Unknown

Date: 4/22/02, 9:57 A.M.

From: smallboyonherbike@boscore.com

To: ggillespie@Emmett.edu


You will NOT believe what happened to me this weekend at Cartwright! Okay, yes, I met a guy. How did you know this would happen? Oh, Omniscient Sister, you are so psychic -- you should charge money. I totally wasn't expecting it. I was SO nervous when I got there and we gathered in this huge auditorium and there were all these other kids and we kept looking each other over and I knew I probably had bags under my eyes because I couldn't sleep the night before and I was seriously STRESSED. Besides which, I'm still going with Eli, sort of, even though that's been dragging on way too long already, as you keep telling me. But Eli would be so hurt if I broke up with him -- he's my biggest fan -- he comes to hear me any time I open for anybody or even do an open mic. He's so LOYAL -- he's been my friend since kindergarten! Besides which, Meghan and Kate and Joey would be furious with me for screwing up our group. I don't think I even COULD break up with him -- it would be like breaking up with your brother. What should I do? I love Eli, but I'm not in love with him. He's not my soulmate -- when I gaze into his eyes, all I see are brown circles -- so I probably shouldn't waste his time anymore.

This guy I met is named Julian Casper -- isn't that a great name? And guess what? He's a singer and an actor! He's the Jesus character in Godspell at his school, which, as you know, is the LEAD! Yeah, yeah, musicals have never been my favorite thing -- okay, I may once have said I hated them, but I'm young, I can change my mind. Anyway, Julian has a gorgeous voice, which I know because he sang at this open mic night they had during the weekend. There were a lot of kids who got up to sing or play music (including me, of course), which by itself is SO exciting -- I can't WAIT to get to this school. Anyway, he's been auditioning for some national singing contest thing which gives scholarships and he's already at the second level, and if he wins the next two levels, he'll come to Boston in August for the final round! I'll be done working at camp by then, so we can hang out in the city and I can show him around. He told me he LOVED my voice and he wants us to work on a duet that we could do at some open mics in Boston! Would that be the coolest thing!?

Do I sound like I've lost it for this guy? I sort of have, but I'm trying to not admit it yet because I'm not sure he feels the same way. He ACTED like he did, but, you know, he might go back to Florida (where he lives) and forget all about me. I mean, maybe it was just a weekend thing. But how fun would it be to go off to college and already have a boyfriend there? God, it would be so great. He says he's definitely going to Cartwright now -- he wasn't sure until this weekend, but now he is. I thought I was sure before, but now there's no doubt in my mind!

Veev, I have this feeling you're looking disapprovingly at the screen. You're rolling your eyes, aren't you? You know I wouldn't choose a college based solely on a guy, don't you? Cartwright has a fabulous music program and the campus is gorgeous. I'm not picking Cartwright just because I met Julian there. For all I know, he'll change his mind and not even go! Although that would be a shame because I want him to be the father of my firstborn child.


How's your play going? I wish we were closer so I could come and see you do Blanche DuBois. Have you gotten the usual rave reviews? Has Tennessee arisen from his grave to see your performance? I'm sure his ghost is applauding from the balcony.

Mom just came in and asked me if I'd mind picking up her cleaning and a few groceries -- stuff she obviously doesn't need this minute. Dad's morning meeting was cancelled and he doesn't have a class to teach until noon, so they probably want to take advantage of it. Maybe she wouldn't mind if I just took my guitar and went into the downstairs bathroom. You can't hear a thing from in there, and I'm not really in the mood to run useless errands.

Do you think I've lost my mind, Veev? What should I do about Eli? What if Julian is my soulmate?

Yours in angst, Chloe

Subj: Of course you've lost your mind

Date: 4/23/02, 2:04 A.M.

From: ggillespie@Emmett.edu

To: smallboyonherbike@boscore.com

Don't :-} me, Chloe! What is all this soulmate crap? Soulmate, schmolemate...I've tried so hard to inoculate you against the vapid attitudes of our parents, and here you are hoping to see firecrackers in somebody's eyes!

-- And furthermore, I did NOT predict the finding of your eternal love-object in Connecticut. All I said was that you'd probably get a big crush on somebody because you're always getting crushes on guys everywhere you go. But you never do anything about it because there's always Eli, who would be demolished if you withdrew your slight affection from him. Believe me, it would do the guy good to find somebody who wasn't always thinking about dumping him!

-- And tell me you aren't still running errands when our parents want a daytime screw? For God's sake, don't they have a lock on their door? Can't they wait until nighttime like normal fifty year olds? What is wrong with them? (A question you may remember I have asked for many years.) It was one thing when we were little kids and Grandma lived down the block and they could just send us down there to play so they could sneak in a quickie, but this need for daytime "privacy" at their advanced age is ludicrous. Nobody is that much in love after 25 years! Really, these people are starting to make me sick, Chloe. It's a good thing you're going to be hundreds of miles away from them in a few months -- they've obviously warped your brain despite my efforts.

-- As to this Julian person (an ACTOR? Have I taught you NOTHING??), did you sleep with him? Are you thinking he's your one true love because you finally gave up the last shred of your virginity to Julian Casper, who is undoubtedly a very friendly ghost? I know it's hard for you to grasp, but some people actually do sleep with more than one person in their lives, even though the saintly Martha and Tom Gillespie didn't. (And anyway, how do we even know that for sure?) Just because this Julian is a singer doesn't make him a higher-level human being. And being an actor probably argues for the opposite.

-- Okay, I'm being a bitch. The play's over and you know how I get. Yes, we were wonderful, although the Emmett College audience could not really appreciate it. My Blanche DuBois was inspirationally nuts. And this woman, Alice, who played Stella was fabulous too. We hardly even needed Stanley Kowalski. Anyway, I'm sorry to yell at you long distance, but I can't bear to see you inhaling all that sentimental crap the lovebirds have been handing us over the years.

-- Yeah, maybe you'll fall in love with this guy and have a big hot old time with him, and maybe it'll last for 6 months -- or maybe 2 weeks -- and then cool off. This happens! Just because you like somebody doesn't mean you have to get all mystical about it. Or married, for Chrissakes! Yes, you've lost your mind, but only because you were brought up by simpletons. What you should do about Eli is probably break up with him, but I've been saying that for two years already and I'm not holding my breath. And Julian is NOT your soulmate, because the word is meaningless.

-- Veev

Sub: Hey!

Date: 4/23/02, 6:04 P.M.

From: jghost@flowire.com

To: smallboyonherbike@boscore.com

Hey Chloe! Sorry I didn't e-mail you yesterday. We had a late rehearsal and then I had to study for a Psych test. So much goes on at the end of the year, it's like you're racing, racing, racing, and then all of a sudden BOOM: It's all over. It's really weird this year since we'll be done with high school for good in 4 more weeks!

Which is fine with me. I'm ready to move on. But it's still weird. I feel kind of bad for my mom being stuck down here in Florida by herself. My older sister is in Texas -- I told you about her -- and my stepfather left us about six months ago, which is great news as far as I'm concerned, but Mom isn't exactly sure yet. She seems to think the guy had some redeeming qualities. Or maybe she just feels bad that she flunked marriage twice.

It was great to hear from you. I agree, Cartwright seems perfect. I'm definitely going -- I'll have to get on my mother to send in the deposit. I have to win that damn contest this summer -- Cartwright is so expensive. I wish I could hear you sing your new song. What's it about? Springtime in Connecticut?

This week is a killer, but once Godspell is over I'll have more time. Thanks for wishing me a broken leg. You, dorky? Not a chance.


Subj: Here in the Going Going Gone

Date: 4/23/02, 9:21 P.M.

From: smallboyonherbike@boscore.com

To: jghost@flowire.com

Hi Julian,

I know you're too busy this week to answer me, so don't! (My sister Genevieve is an actor too, so I know what the last week of rehearsals is like.) Just wanted to say how much I agree with you about how weird this last month of high school is. God, I feel like I'm here and not here at the same time. Everybody's talking about the prom one minute, then wondering about their college roommates the next. It makes me feel like there's no place to put my feet down. Like I'm up in the air watching my own life. Know what I mean? By the way, my new song is called "To Fly," and it's sort of about that -- knowing you're leaving someplace and wondering what's ahead. So it's sort of about Connecticut. Wish I could see you in Godspell. I KNOW you'll be amazing. Broken legs for the whole cast!


IM from Eli to Chloe

catch22: glad u r online -- my mother is making me craaaazy!!!

smallboyonherbike: hey eli. same thing?

catch22: getting worse -- she was CRYING 2nite because i accepted michigan instead of oberlin

catch22: she thinks i'm dissing her by not going 2 HER school

smallboyonherbike: u know how evelyn is...this is an excuse 2 b upset...can't stand that u r leaving home

catch22: hey they should have had more kids!!!!!

smallboyonherbike: what does your dad say?

catch22: he doesn't care where i go -- he's glad michigan is cheaper :) :)

smallboyonherbike: LOL that sounds like ernie :)

catch22: gtg do research on a paper -- what do you know about kafka?

smallboyonherbike: i know u should ask jeeves or google

catch22: right -- cul8r

smallboyonherbike: don't b mean 2 evelyn now!!

catch22: ez 4 u 2 say

Subj: [no subject]

Date: 4/24/02, 12:37 P.M.

From: mtgillespie@boscore.com

To: ggillespie@Emmett.edu

Dear Genevieve,

Daddy and I were talking at breakfast today and it occured to us that your Tennessee Williams play is opening soon, isn't it? We wanted to be sure to wish you good luck. Daddy asked me if Blanche was the crazy one or the pregnant one, and I said, the crazy one, of course -- it's typecasting! (Just kidding.)

Love, Mom and Daddy

IM from Kate to Chloe

KublaKate: ethan finally asked meghan 2 the prom!!! we can all go 2gether :) :) :)

KublaKate: are we gonna get a limo like last year?

smallboyonherbike: i thought meghan was holding out 4 peter merrick? limo is fine w/me -- w/e

KublaKate: peter's back w/elisa :( m is ok about it tho

smallboyonherbike: why ethan? didn't think she even liked him (i don't either)

KublaKate: he ASKED her -- it's only 3 wks -- she has to have a DATE!!!

smallboyonherbike: at least we'll all b 2gether 1 more time

smallboyonherbike: :) :) :)

KublaKate: DON'T SAY THAT! u will marry eli and i'll marry joey and we'll have 2 daughters each

KublaKate: and live down the st from each other

KublaKate: unless u break up with eli which u CANNOT DO

Subj: A Ha Me a Riddle I Day

Date: 4/26/02, 2:02 P.M.

To: ggillespie@Emmett.edu

From: smallboyonherbike@boscore.com

Hi Veev,

It's Friday afternoon and I'm e-mailing you from my computer class because there's nothing else to do. We're all sitting here sending IMs to each other. I'm bored silly -- why don't they just let the seniors go this last month? So, Julian has e-mailed me once. I can't tell what he's thinking. I'm a little depressed because I realize there's no way in hell I'm going to dump Eli. I mean, he helped me shop for my prom dress -- I can't not go with him. Anyway, I don't want to dump him -- this is ELI we're talking about, not some jerky guy or something. He's my best friend.

IM from Eli to Chloe

catch22: hi! :) kate IM'd me about meghan going to the prom w/ethan. she wants to know about a limo -- yes or no??

smallboyonherbike: don't really care. w/e u guys want is fine.

catch22: U KNOW kate wants a limo. ok with me.

catch22: u all right? u seemed down at lunch.

catch22: still going 2 the movies 2night?

smallboyonherbike: fine. getting a cold maybe. :/

smallboyonherbike: but I'm still up for the movies. everybody going?

catch22: yup. i'll drive. pick u up at 7. take vit. c

smallboyonherbike: ok. ttyl8r

God, Veev, Eli just IMed me while I was writing about him! I can't do this in class where he could see it. He's too damn nice! I'll end up married to him because I don't want to hurt his feelings! Can't you come home for a weekend and tell me how to live my life? How did you get to be so calm and happy? Why am I the screwed-up sister? HELP!


Subj: what's new, pussycat?

Date: 4/26/02, 6:43 P.M.

From: CCinWonderland@hotmail.com

To: jghost@flowire.com

kiddo, thought I'd check in and see how your big week is going. did you go up to conn. last weekend to see that fancy school, or did mom guilt trip you into skipping it? i do actually feel bad that you're being made to pay for my sins. not bad enough to regret getting out of florida, though. by the way, wes and I are probably going to move out of texas pretty soon. it's so damn hot here. he's thinking boulder would be a nice change. I guess he wants to ski or something -- a skill we never picked up back in the swamp.

if I thought you'd ever take my advice i'd say, GET THEE TO CONNECTICUT, but i'm afraid it might backfire. seriously, jules, you have to get out from under mom's gloom and doom. even that deadhead rick couldn't take more than a few years of it -- look how many we had to put up with! you need to put some miles between you and mom. she'll cope. besides, you have such a great voice -- if you bury yourself in florida, you'll end up in disney world singing about how it's a small world after all.

so, jesus, i guess your play starts tonight. wish I could come for it, although seeing my brother crucified is not an image I long to live with, and, as you know, spending time at 88 lanning road is detrimental to my health. anyway, kick some ass onstage. hey, maybe you could come visit wes and me this summer! course I'm not sure where we'll be by then. think about it, okay?

who you taking to the prom? how about that nina girl who's had a crush on you since forever? make her senior year, you cad!

gotta go. i'm on 8 to 2 at the bar.

love, carly (the bad seed)

Subj: Putting it behind me

Date: 4/28/02, 3:55 P.M.

From: jghost@flowire.com

To: CCinWonderland@hotmail.com

Godspell's over, thank God. Not that I didn't enjoy it -- I did -- but it takes so much time and energy to do a musical, and I just feel like I'm currently out of both. I'll be so glad to graduate and be done with high school and all this piddly crap. (I did, however, kick ass.)

I plan to get out of Florida, Carly -- you know that. I liked Cartwright a lot, but I guess I'm still not sure. Seems like such a big choice and Conn. is so far. And Mom is not trying to guilt trip me, but she obviously can't pay for a place like Cartwright unless I win some scholarship money from the contest this summer. She's going to send in a deposit to Cartwright, and also one to University of Florida, just in case -- which I happen to think is a good idea.

And, hello? How could I possibly come to Colorado (or wherever you are) to visit you and Wes (whoever he is) when I have three more contest levels to go, and you know I have to work as many hours as possible at the Ginger Tree this summer? Duh! Why are you moving again anyway? You've only been in Austin for six months. Aren't you ever going to decide you like someplace?

You are so clueless. I haven't spoken to Nina Greco in about 3 years -- she probably doesn't even remember who I am. I'm going to the prom with Tyler's sister Grace, and Ty's taking Inga Matthewson, who's just a good friend. That way we won't have to be all worried about the evening or anything -- it'll be easy. You know, no expectations.

I wish you'd stop blaming Mom for everything that goes wrong in the world. I know she can be a drag sometimes, but God, Carly, she's not the devil. Do you even KNOW how much she'd give to have you visit her once in a while? You might just consider it. Yeah, I know, I'm guilt tripping you. But you deserve it. All you ever think about is what you want. You want to get out of Florida. You don't want to go to college. You need freedom. What does that even mean? Freedom to be a bartender in every college town in America? What for?

Okay, sorry. Now you're pissed at me. I just don't think of going away to college as an escape from Mom, that's all. You don't even see how sad she is about this whole breakup thing. It's not a joke, you know. She loved Rick. Anyway, I have to go -- Ty's waiting for me.

Julian (your conscience)

IM from Tyler to Julian

plexiboy: figured u were online -- phone was busy. when r u coming over?

jghost: now

plexiboy: inga's here 2. u wan2 walk 2 town and get pizza instead of shooting hoops?

jghost: no. i just had lunch. some hoops first?

plexiboy: ok -- btw nina greco came by w/inga

Subj: Small boy?

Date: 4/28/02, 11:57 P.M.

From: jghost@flowire.com

To: smallboyonherbike@boscore.com

Hi Chloe,

I just really noticed your screen name -- how did you come up with that? Your subject headings are strange too -- am I missing something? Actually I like the image of you as a small boy on your bike. I can imagine you as a little kid in a baseball cap, tooling around the neighborhood at high speed, with baseball cards stuck in the spokes of your bike so you make more noise. Tough, but cute.

Godspell is over, and I'm glad. It was fun, but now I feel like I'm really done with high school. Of course there's still a month left, and all those pesky exams to take, and prom and graduation and all that stuff, but Drama Club has been my high school life -- now that I've had my last performance here, high school seems finished. Do you do any extracurricular stuff? Or does singing/guitar playing take up all your time? Just please don't tell me you're a cheerleader! No, I'm sure you aren't. No small boy on her bike would grow up to yell, "Bobby, Bobby, he's our man! If he can't do it, Jason can!"

I keep thinking about something you said last week at Cartwright -- that your biggest hope for college was that you'd find people there you could really connect with. You said you had great friends now, nice people, but they weren't that much like you, and you wanted friends who really got you. That totally explains me too. My best friend, Tyler, thinks he knows me -- we've been friends forever -- but sometimes I feel like I'm not really me around Ty. You know? I'm who he expects me to be.

I just hope I don't end up like my sister, Carly, who Mom says can't "find herself." Which is probably because she keeps moving every few months -- now she's moving from Texas to Colorado, another place I've never been. I think she's lived in most of the western states by now. She's following some new boyfriend to Boulder, but she'll probably dump him when she gets there. Her track record with guys is as bad as with states. I don't get it. She's a really smart person but she never settles down to DO anything, unless you call working in crappy bars a career path. We're so different in that way. I can't imagine wasting my time just drifting around. I like to have goals to work toward.

In two weeks I go to the AMVC regionals (Abraham Menninger Voice Contest) at the University of Alabama. My chorus teacher, Ms. Prescott, has been working with me to get ready. Now that Godspell's over, we work every day after school. Speaking of goals, I am determined to make it to the nationals in Boston! (Not only for the contest, of course.) And speaking of singing, I wish I could hear your new song. As you know, your voice knocked me out. Will you at least send me the lyrics when you're finished?

Getting late. More soon.


Subj: When I Was a Boy

Date: 4/29/02, 12:35 A.M.

From: smallboyonherbike@boscore.com

To: jghost@flowire.com

Hi Julian!

I was up late working on a paper and just checked my e-mail before going to bed and there you were!! (Oops...I hate when people use multiple exclamation points, as if everything they say is so dramatic!! And important!!) :P

It's very cool that you can see me as a smallboyonherbike. You got it completely, and you obviously don't even know the song. (Restraining myself from exclamation here.) "Small boy on her bike" is a line from a song by Dar Williams (who is one of my very favorite singer/songwriters), and it's from a song called "When I Was a Boy." (See subject line.) I almost always use song titles for my subject lines (unless I'm really lazy or stressed) and they're usually titles from my favorites: Dar, John Prine, Greg Brown, The Nields, Cheryl Wheeler, Patty Larkin...and dozens more. You might not have heard of these people, but they're better than lots of the people you have heard of. Plus you can see them at small venues or folk festivals instead of those beer-soaked, eardrum-busting screamfests known as rock concerts. (Climbing down off high horse now.)

My sister, Genevieve, and I were both smallboysonourbikes. She was the original, I guess, and I followed her. We're only two years apart in age and Veev usually let me hang around with her -- we were sort of a team. As a matter of fact, there was a boy on our street who called us the Sisterbikers, which I loved. (Good name for a band?) We had Magic cards in our spokes, instead of baseball. If there was a newly poured concrete sidewalk, we wrote our names in it. New tar on a road, we walked in it. We left no tree unclimbed. Our parents didn't mind -- as long as we lived to tell about it, they didn't much care what adventures we had. But then, as Dar says, there comes the time you have to put on your shirt and start acting like a girl, and it's very depressing for awhile. Anyway, it's one of my favorite songs. I'll make you a mix CD of Dar songs and some other people too. Your education in folk music has begun!

NO, I was NEVER a cheerleader!! (Oops, the exclamation points got out again.) Screaming like that is hell on the vocal chords. Besides which, I can barely do a pushup -- they'd never trust me to hold up a whole pyramid of Brimmingham beauties.

Extracurricular activities: only a few. I was the chairperson for Coffeehouse Nights for three years -- held once a month in the school cafeteria. Which meant I had to make sure I had at least three people a night willing to get up and do something -- sing or play an instrument or read poetry. We sold coffee, soda, and cookies, and charged 2 bucks at the door so we could buy tablecloths for the cruddy cafeteria tables and have candles instead of overhead fluorescent lights. I'm actually going to miss Coffeehouse Nights...although I guess there will be stuff like that at Cartwright too. YEAH!

That's the only activity I'm in charge of. I'm on the literary magazine staff too, and sometimes I write an article for the newspaper. I guess I spend more time doing things outside of school than inside. The past year, since I've had my license, I make the rounds of the open mics every weekend, and I love doing that.

I know JUST what you mean about being who your friends expect you to be. How does that even happen? I just want to START OVER and be who I am now and hope people will like THAT person. By the way, if you were the real you last weekend, the real me was impressed.

God, it's almost 2 in the morning!!!! I have to get to bed. I'll send you the lyrics for "To Fly" as soon as I finish it.



Subj: As Cool As I Am

Date: 4/29/02, 5:21 P.M.

From: smallboyonherbike@boscore.com

To: ggillespie@Emmett.edu


I just got a LONG letter from Julian. He says my voice knocked him out. And he can imagine me as a small boy on my bike, tough but cute. His e-mails are turning me into a piddling puddle of goo. I melt for him!

Sorry if I'm making you stick your finger down your throat. When are you out of school, anyway? I need to talk to you in person! You'll be here for my graduation, right? Did you get the letter from Bill about going up to Maple Hill on June 15 to help train the new counselors? It'll be nice to have some time to commune with each other before the brat pack shows up.

I'm feeling bad about not telling Eli or Kate or anybody about Julian. Not that there's much to tell. Of course I didn't sleep with him at Cartwright -- I just MET him, Genevieve. (And don't give me that how long are you going to be a virgin speech again. Until I'm ready.) A little kissing is all that went on. Okay, a lot of kissing, but what's the point of telling everybody? Eli would be hurt and Kate would be furious. But I feel like a creep keeping this secret from them. Which makes ME furious because, God, do I have to MARRY Eli just because I've known him since birth? Answer me!


Subj: You don't have to marry anybody!

Date: 4/29/02, 11:18 P.M.

From: ggillespie@Emmett.edu

To: smallboyonherbike@boscore.com

-- A piddling puddle of goo is the least of it. You're a peeing poodle of poo. A puzzling pushover of boo-hoo. A pathetic parody of Pooh. A plastic pancake of...I don't know, but that was fun, wasn't it? Maybe you shouldn't go to Cartwright -- I don't know if I can put up with your gloppy gushing over this Julian guy -- (am I good at alliteration or what?) -- and you haven't even slept with him yet! Have you mentioned this new obsession to Martha and Tom, the loco parenti? Or haven't they come out of the bedroom this week?

-- Why are you even TALKING about marrying Eli, for God's sake? You're barely 18. Both Eli and Kate will learn to live with your decision to desert them. The only reason you're getting wiggy over this is because you're leaving for college in a few months and it's making you nervous. Once you're at Cartwright and they're wherever they're going, you'll all start rethinking your lives. Brimmingham, Massachusetts, and its various residents will cease to be of importance to you. Which seems weird now, but it'll be FINE.

-- I got Bill's letter, and I've been putting off telling you this. Thing is, I've got a better offer this summer. I went down to NYC a few weeks ago with Alice (Stella, remember?) and auditioned for a small company -- they take on summer interns -- and we both got in! The pay is lousy, and we'll mostly be understudying and moving furniture, but we'll be in a NYC acting company! It's too good to turn down, Chloe -- I'll get to meet people, and I'll be in the city! Pissed off, aren't you? I know -- we ALWAYS do Maple Hill. But really, I'm 20 years old -- I think I may finally have outgrown summer camp. Don't dissolve -- you're too gooey already. I'll be home before the internship starts -- for your prom and your graduation -- so we can dish dirt about all the locals we love to hate.

-- Don't be bummed. Life's too short.

-- Genevieve

Subj: Who we really are

Date: 4/30/02, 7:21 P.M.

From: jghost@flowire.com

To: smallboyonherbike@boscore.com

I WAS being the real me last weekend, and if you were being the real you, I think we have a lot in common. Can't wait to get the mix CD. Can't wait to see you again.


IM from Tyler to Julian

plexiboy: r u online again!?!? r u writing that girl u met in conn?!?

plexiboy: at least u aren't zoning out playing solitaire

jghost: solitaire is zen meditation -- how often do i have 2 tell u?

plexiboy: right. :)

plexiboy: inga says nina is hot 4 u...that's why she came over sun b/c inga told her you'd be here

jghost: u and inga should write soap operas. nina liked me in 8th grade. i haven't talked 2 her since

plexiboy: how well do u have 2 know her? she LIKES U!!!!! :) :) :)

jghost: so? it's end of sr year -- what can happen?

plexiboy: u could ask her to prom -- grace won't care if you back out on her. she's going 2 jr prom anyway -- it's not like she won't get 2 use her dress

jghost: ok, as long as THE DRESS doesn't mind. jeez, ty -- i'm not backing out on your sister

plexiboy: y not? u didn't want 2 go w/grace 2 begin with -- it was just e-z -- so u wouldn't have to get a date yourself

jghost: not true. grace and i r friends

plexiboy: yeah, she's dyin to go to prom with the guy who called her BONES since she was 8

plexiboy: i wouldn't even have told u 2 ask her if I thought you'd ask somebody yourself -- WHAT IS WRONG W/NINA????

jghost: nothing is WRONG with her -- i'm just not taking her 2 prom. if grace doesn't want 2 go, i'll stay home

plexiboy: NO U WON'T! we're renting top hats this year!

jghost: y not just send our clothes 2 the prom and we can stay home? :) ha ha!

plexiboy: i'm turning on mtv -- watching ozzy osbourne take out the trash is more fun than talking to u when u r in a mood like this. cya

jghost: bye

Hi Julian --
Here's the mix CD I promised you.
If you hate these songs, we are not
compatible, so you better lone them.
Really, let me know what you think.
Good luck in your next contest level!

Love, Chloe

Copyright © 2004 by Ellen Wittlinge


Excerpted from Heart on My Sleeve by Wittlinger, Ellen Copyright © 2004 by Wittlinger, Ellen. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Ellen Wittlinger is the critically acclaimed author of the teen novels Parrotfish, Blind Faith, Sandpiper, Heart on My Sleeve, Zigzag, and Hard Love (an American Library Association Michael L. Printz Honor Book and a Lambda Literary Award winner), and its sequel Love & Lies: Marisol’s Story. She has a bachelor’s degree from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, and an MFA from the University of Iowa. A former children’s librarian, she lives with her husband in Haydenville, Massachusetts.

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3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
_frenchtoast_ More than 1 year ago
The book heart on my sleeve is written in a appealing and unique way. It is told through letters, emails, I-M, and post cards. It shows that talking through notes you came become more confident. The author shows that two people might think they know each other and are in love but really they aren't. This was between two characters, Chloe and Julian. Chloe's sister Genevieve also showed she had more confidence talking through letters. she comes out and finally tells the truth that she has been holding since high school.
I thought it was very creative how the author showed us the main character's senior year and getting ready for college. The book carried many surprises and twist that changed the reader's feeling towards different characters. I would recommend heat on my sleeve to anyone who wants to read a new and creative format.
Guest More than 1 year ago
well if you read you have to read carfully it confused me but i thought it a good book. people who are in love and untruthful will love this book. But who are not then check it out. Girls 13-19 will probaly like this it explain teens looking for friends. so please if you see it in local library then pick it and see if you like it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
----------------------------------------------------------------------------- * This is unexceptible! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- (* this is way too unexceptible for anybody.) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- * I am a single mother of 4 children. So yeah I do know what I`m talking about here all of you teenagers out there! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- * If these children out here were my children reading this,they would`nt be able to ever again. I`d give their book to the orphanage and then take all of their allowance away. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- * I`m not trying to be mean or abything but the people out there that are reading this are idiots! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- *BYE—BYE NOW! -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ballroomdancenonstop More than 1 year ago
I loved the storyline and the format. It was very cool to read a book written all in forms of communication. :)
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book. It was so sweet at the end. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves romance books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
the main character was just a little too annoying and when the two characters that have been emailing each other meet up its quite dissapointing...
Guest More than 1 year ago
The only reason I read the whole book was because I had a few hours to kill and this was the only book I had with me. It was either stare blankly into space or read this. This book was boring. I cared little for the characters and the plot seemed very uneven, full of half-formed ideas.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Heart on my sleeve is the best book that I have ever read! This book is about a girl in her last year of high school, and a boy the same age. The two of them meet while going to Cartwedge. The two fall in a long distance love. Julian (the boy)meets up with
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was pretty boring and i kept waiting for a good part but it never came and just seemed pointless.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was interesting. I wouldn't say it was the best book that I have read. I would recommend it to mostly girls in high school. It was a fun and easy book to read and have fun with. The factor I liked best about the book is that it is told through emails, letters and instant messages. It is also easy to relate with as the main character goes through challenges faced with senior girls in high school going on to college.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is okay. It was kinda boring and confusing. It was confusing because of the characters. SOmetimes they would introduce characters and not really explain who they were but u can try reading this book
Guest More than 1 year ago
All of the characters were really annoying and self-centered. I liked the way it was written, like emails and instant messaging and letters. It would have been a lot worse if there wasn't a surprise about Genevieve. Chloe was a horrible song writer. The guys kind of had girly voices. I guess because a woman wrote the book. But she could've done a better job. The whole thing could have been written better. The idea of using song titles in the subject line of emails is cool. The only thing that kept me reading was it had a okay plot. And since the book had a picture of Chloe on the front that made her seem more real.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Heart on My Sleeve is a very interesting book. This book shows us kids and teenagers how difficult it can be to be with someone, or even just going away to collage, leaving your friends and everything. Chloe wants to go to a collage up in Connecticut. The incoming freshmen were able to go and see what the collage was like and to see if they would really want to go there. While she is there, she meets another incoming freshman named Julian. Chloe and Julian hit it off right from the start. They found many things that they had in common. After leaving the collage they decided that they would keep in touch because they wanted to become good friends. Then their feelings change from friends to more than just friends. Back at home, Chloe had a boyfriend named Eli who she did love but they had been best friends for so long that he considered him more a brother than her boyfriend. When she gets home she decides to keep her meeting Julian a secret. By keeping her meeting Julian a secret she hurt the people she loved most which was what she was trying to prevent. This book is awesome and in order to find out what happens to Chloe, Julian, Eli and everyone else you will have to read the book for yourself. It is awesome and I know you¿ll love it. Good Luck!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is 1 of the best books i have ever read. it is really realistic. there are parts in the book that are boring, but hey what book isnt kinda boring sometimes.well if u like reading about teens this is a good book 2 read. i would recomend this book for ages 11+. also if u have teen trobles u can relate to this book. well ttyl!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
it was good in the start of it i did not like it that much but as it went on i liked it a lot i think it is very true to some teen lifes
Guest More than 1 year ago
i thought this book was not the bst, but it was alright. I mean the writing was very good and the story was very original and good... but it was kind of boring and not-so-realistic. it was boring because the autjor might have made the e-mails thing too realistic without thinking so much about the reader. so lets say one of the characters had a story to tell two people,he would say the same thing to both of them. So that got king of annoying because you already know. also i wasnt so interested in many of the characters and every time they worte or somebody wrote to them i wasnt very interested, and a little bored. i only really mostly liked the parts where Julian and Chloe wrote to eachother. it was not very realistic because the way people talked to eachother just wasnt very believable to me. so the book was OK.