Hard Love

Hard Love

by Ellen Wittlinger


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, January 24

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780689841545
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date: 04/28/2001
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 680,685
Product dimensions: 8.24(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.73(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About 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.


Since his parents' divorce, John's mother hasn't touched him, her new fiancé wants them to move away, and his father would rather be anywhere than at Friday night dinner with his son. It's no wander John writes articles like "Interview with the Stepfather" and "Memoirs from Hell." The only release he finds is in homemade zines like the amazing Escape Velocity by Marisol, a self-proclaimed "Puerto Rican Cuban Yankee Lesbian." Hanging around the Boston Tower Records for the new issue of Escape Velocity, John meets Marisol and a hard love is born. While at first their friendship is based on zines, dysfunctional families, and dreams of escape, soon both John and Marisol begin to shed their protective shells. Unfortunately, John mistakes this growing intimacy for love, and disastrous date to his junior prom leaves that friendship in ruins. Desperately hoping to fix things, John convinces Marisol to come with him to a zine conference on Cape Cod. On the sandy beaches by the Bluefish Wharf Inn, John realizes just how hard love can be.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Hard Love 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 141 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hard Love is one of the few books that can be described by using its own title. This book is literally about hard love a hard love that shatters John¿s heart into bits of pieces. John falls for Marisol, a girl who presents herself to everyone as ¿...a Puerto Rican Cuban Yankee lesbian,...¿. Even after him knowing Marisol was a lesbian, he is intrigued by her and falls in love little by little. John is not familiar with this type of feelings, so he denies he likes her at all. He has never been in love, or even been attracted to any girl. John is a high school student who only has one friend, Brian. He says and tries to convince himself that they are not friends, just someone he hangs out with so they can both say they have at least one friend. Even though they spend a lot of time together, they are very different people. John has had a tough life, while Brian hasn¿t. Also, one big difference is that Brian is girl-crazy, and John is not! He is a constant liar, and finds himself lying about the smallest things. Later he finds that the more he lies the harder it is to get out of something. Falling in love is something that can¿t be denied no matter how much you want to. Later John learns this. Later in the book, he admits he is in love with Marisol. She has become his first love, and also his hard love. There is no way in the world that a lesbian girl would ever go out with a straight guy. Marisol is convinced to show John she is not what he wants and looking for. On the other hand John is convinced he wants Marisol. This book is filled with drama, and hilarious moments. It¿s a book that can be enjoyed by anyone. I enjoyed reading something different for a change. I recommend this book mostly to high school students looking for a different type of read. Hard Love is a great story, which states that love is unavoidable. No matter how much you deny you love someone you can¿t un-love them in a second.
francescadefreitas on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This was an antidote to the romances I've been reading lately. John and Marisol meet and become friends: sharing a love of writing, and a certain loneliness. Their friendship has a great capacity for bringing joy and comfort, but an equal capacity for causing damage. When John falls in love with Marisol, a lesbian, their relationship can never go back to the way it was.I was uncomfortable with John and Marisol's relationship, not because it was unrealistic, but because it was very realistic, and I could see disaster looming. I know it is the difficult relationships that be the most wonderful, but I was two busy anticipating the pain to be able to enjoy the way they helped each other open up to wider truths about themselves and about the world.I'd give this to people looking for realistic fiction about friendship and relationships - especially for stories about children surviving divorce.
sszkutak on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This was one of my favorite books growing up. Reminding you of your first crush, the one you always wanted but for some reason couldn't have/ never made a move for. Wittlinger's story telling is amazing and true to life, there is the drama of being a teen in love and the not so happy ending that most angsty teen books employ. Hard Love touches issues of sexuality and finding yourself through another perfectly even though things don't always work out for the best.
aleon on LibraryThing 5 months ago
John Galardi (Giovanni, or Gio for short) is a little less than normal boy who has never really had friends. He¿s never really liked girls, even going as far to think that he may be gay. Brian, his only ¿friend¿ is obsessed with becoming popular and making something out of himself, but John¿ isnt. That is until he meets the author of his favorite zine Escape Velocity, Marisol, a self proclaimed ¿rich spoiled lesbian private-school gifted-and -talented writer virgin looking for love¿. John starts making new friends and feels like he's never felt before. The problem being when his feelings for end up blowing up in his face, seeing as she's a lesbian. The book is basically about how a teen handles being in a completely one-sided relationship. This book was really good, but mostly just for a quick read. The plot was a little repetitive and started with a boring beggining, and honestly it didn¿t really get much better for me. It has a bit of humor in it but I feel like the author was trying for teen angst and it ended up a little off. This book was nice but I really wouldn¿t recommend it for people who don¿t really have the focus to ride out the slower parts.
4sarad on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I couldn't get into this book at all. I think I just had nothing in common with the main characters and really didn't find them that interesting. I could see where the book was going and there weren't really any surprises nor really any memorable scenes. The ending in particular was just kind of there and didn't wow me in any way.
fromthecomfychair on LibraryThing 5 months ago
A quick but poignant read. On the surface, it seems to be about gay and lesbian teens; in reality, it is about the lessons of love, how little we can control who we love, and how much less who loves us in return. Realistic, with no "happy" endings, but no "sad" ones, either. Kind of like life.
kaionvin on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Painfully (and not always in the good way) earnest and at times laughably dated, I still admired Hard Love for its ambitions. From every pore, this book screamed 'Express yourself!' and strove to portray a warts-and-all look at teenage 'escape'.John, a full-time high-school cynic, is incapable of expressing himself (be it to his divorced parents or his love-obsessed best friend) and. Until he discovers 'zines (basically paper and ink blogs for the creative set for all of us who can't remember the '90s) and one 'zine writer in particular, Marisol, who's an outspoken, identity-seeking, lesbian teen.It's to Wittlinger's credit that the conflicts that arise from John and Marisol's tumultuous friendship are entrenched within their character traits and not resolved easily with plot cliches. The thing is, I'm not sure the characters aren't really very relatable to those of us who have grown past our rebellious navel-gazing phases.Part of growing up is realizing not only the power of your own feelings, but also, ultimately, becoming less self-obsessed and moving on. I felt like the book while exploring the first part of that journey, failed to hold the characters to the responsibility of being accountable to their actions in the name of being true to the self.And in the imbalanced narrative arc, I felt a little cheated by the unearned coming-of-age ending that failed to really explore the deeper questions of identity: Does packaging a 'you' cheapen its reality? We've all still have so much further to go (and so many more growing pangs to suffer).
yourotherleft on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Wittlinger brings her two struggling zine-writing teens to life. John is a normal teenage guy. His emotions never come to the surface and when they seem to in his writing, he claims it wasn't his intention to seem emotional. Dealing with his parents' divorce and his father's desertion of him (on an emotional level) and his mother's desertion of him (on a physical level) have left him emotionally stunted and so indifferent about love that he can't rightly identify himself as straight or gay. The complete other side of the coin is Marisol, who identifies herself as a lesbian and seems completely comfortable in her own skin even before she graduates from high school. She's a straight shooter who abhors lying, even to one's own self. John, in an effort to escape his every day reality, can't seem to stop lying. When Wittlinger brings these two characters together, fireworks go off. Soon John is sure that he is capable of love but has found an unfortunate target for all of the love and emotion he has kept inside since his parents' divorce. On the other hand, Marisol, while never doubting her sexuality, allows her wall of somewhat phony self-confidence to be penetrated by the bumbling John. The two become each other's best friend and worst enemy capable of hurting each other in a way they never thought possible. Wittlinger's development of these two characters is flawless. Readers get a believable view into the psyche of an "average" teenage boy and all the hurt that lies therein. A few of the final scenes of the book moved me nearly to tears. As a teen book, Hard Love accomplishes what few that I've read recently do. It captures real issues without condescension and without slamming readers over the head with so much shocking bad language and behavior that it seems totally unsuitable to younger readers. I'm not faint of heart, and I was always allowed to read whatever I wanted once I hit my teenage years, but even I have to admit that I have been a tad blown away by what passes for "young adult" fiction now. This book breaks the mold. Highly recommended!
staram on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Hipsters, zines, a unsatisfying here-lets-clean-up-quick ending. Couldn't really get into this one.
JimRGill2012 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had a hole ready to be filled
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BunnyGirl12 More than 1 year ago
Amazing Book! 5 Stars! The book ‘’ Hard Love’’ by Ellen Wittlinger really shows that you can find love in the most mysterious ways. The story was about a teen named John who has a cold heart because he has not been ‘‘touched’’ by his mother since they parents’ divorce but does find a ray of sunshine in dark world when he meets the writer of his favorite zine’’ Escape Velocity’’ Marisol. After meeting they a grow a friendship that both of them never had before. John (Gio; his fake name) begins to fall in love with Marisol (even though she has told him before she is a lesbian) because for the first time in 6 years someone he loves finally touched. Even though they can’t be together physically they know that they will always have each other. My favorite character is this Marisol herself. Even though she has accepted herself, she doesn’t have the much self- confidence when she wears a dress and because of that she is a very reserved person, she sees the good in people and she is already to try something new. This book is paced very because it hooks you very the very first interview between John and his stepdad till the last page when Marisol and John says their goodbyes. I believe the message of this book is that love will never fade even if you’re upset with the person you love. Life can be hard but it is up to you what you want to do with it. There is no criticism I would like to offer the book is wonderful. Good job Ellen Wittlinger. Good job.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was pretty good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alecsuhs More than 1 year ago
i LOVE this to death! It makes so much sense and you can't help but to love the main character John/gio. He's that type of guy who really doesn't find the point in having a girlfriend and he doesn't really know what love is. His mom doesn't even show really any good emotion to her son at all. Then marisol comes along. And John ends up falling for her. And she ends up finding it hard to love him back in the way her wants her to. She a lesbian and is proud about it.
poor John.
yo_mariah46 More than 1 year ago
This book was very refreshing. John "Gio" wasnt proclaiming his love like lots of characters ive read about-maybe because he didnt know he was in love. The story was realistic. I could relate to lots of his feelings-ive expirenced them before. "Hard Love" occurs more often then authors like to write about. So its nice to read about the truth for change. This book still had hope tacked on to the end,making everyone happy. I say you read it.