Hard Love

by Ellen Wittlinger

Brief Summary: Hard Love is about many things. First loves, relationships, writing, emotions, expressions, understanding and independence. It follows John as he attempts to maneuver the emotional minefield that is growing up without involving emotions. He’s good about the no emotions thing because he has many years of practice. But when John decides to become Gio, emotionless living may no longer be an option.

Kell’s Chatty Review: There is a lot going on in this book and I didn’t really realize it until I sat down to write that quick (not at all good, but it’s 1 am, so please forgive 🙂 ) review. For some books, that may sound like a bad thing – for this book it’s a compliment. Wittlinger uses a simply honest style that hides the many, many emotions that are developing throughout the book.

On John/Gio: I think with coming-of-age stories like this – especially ones that come from such an emotionally gripping character – it’s hard to maintain a balance between making the character believably emotional and making everyone wonder why the character has such a problem with his/her life. While I might have teetered into this territory a bit while reading (mostly in his conversations with Brian), I never fully went over to that dark side. Therefore, John/Gio was incredibly real in his emotions and not understanding them.

On Marisol: For the most part, I really, really liked Marisol. I liked the many principals she had. I liked her blunt honesty and her desire to know who she was for herself. I also loved the fact she acknowledged that she loved her parents but she still needed to escape from them to figure out who she was (which I think is sometimes glossed over as people try to portray “angsty” teenagers). She did grate on my nerves a bit. Probably because it’s not common to find someone that honest and open. Mostly it was because I continually had to remind myself that she was in her teens even though she acted like she was much, much older.

As a note: I loved the layout of this book. (How nerdy can I get? What can I say, I love well-chosen fonts.) It was obviously going for the zine look and I think it captured it incredibly well. (Also, the zine writing was awesome.) It was funky and unique.

Printz Update: Now that I have read Hard Love, I officially have read all the Printz winners and honorees for 2000. This means I only have ten more years to go! Woohoo!

This Post: is even more haphazard than my normal rambling, grammatically-incorrect posts, so I do apologize! While I don’t recommend reviewing books at 1 a.m., the way my mind is working these days, I will forget anything substantial to say if I don’t review the book immediately after reading it. So 1 a.m. it is. (At least until this last semester is over anyway!)

Where this book came from: The lovely library I frequent!

Have a good night everyone!

~Kell

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