In this long-anticipated companion novel to the Printz Honor Book Hard Love, which critics called ""A bittersweet tale of self-expression and the struggle to achieve self-love,"" Ellen Wittlinger offers a novel just as emotionally honest and deeply felt. Marisol Guzman has deferred college for a year to accomplish two things: She will write a novel and she will fall in love. How hard could that be? She gets her very own apartment (with her high school best friend as roommate) and a waitressing job at a classic Harvard Square coffeehouse. When she enrolls in an adult education class -- ""How to Write Your First Novel"" -- there are two big surprises waiting for her: John Galardi, aka ""Gio,"" a fellow zine writer who fell head over heels for her last spring (despite the fact that shes a lesbian) and her instructor, Olivia Frost, the most exquisitely beautiful woman shes ever seen. But as Marisol ventures into what seems to be her storybook romance with Olivia, things start to go off track.
Gr 9 Up-Marisol Guzman, 18, puts off enrolling at Stamford for a year so she can write a novel. She gets a job at a local coffee shop and signs up for a writing course through the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. Olivia, the instructor, is strikingly beautiful, a number of years older, and appears to have the knowledge and skills to teach the class. Looks can be deceiving, however, and Marisol learns this truth the hard way when she becomes involved in her first real sexual relationship. Her former buddy, Gio, whose romantic feelings for Marisol were thwarted because she is a lesbian, coincidentally registers for the same class and their friendship is restored. Marisol's friend and apartment mate, Birdie; his new love, Damon; and Gio realize early on that Olivia is pushy, inconsiderate, and manipulative, but Marisol doesn't listen. Wittlinger's companion to Hard Love (S & S, 1999) effectively continues the story from Marisol's point of view. Characters are well drawn and believable, and the interpersonal relationships realistic. Along with her friends, readers can see early on that Marisol's relationship with "the teacher" is courting disaster. Witnessing Olivia's jealousy and mistreatment and wishing Marisol would finally open her eyes creates effective page-turning tension. Although everything falls apart and it is too late to fix things, there is a note of hope at the end that cries out for yet another installment of this compelling story.-Diane P. Tuccillo, Fort Collins Regional Library District, CO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
December 29, 2009
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.