Hard Love

Ellen Wittlinger, Author, Ethan Trask, Illustrator Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing $16.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-689-82134-9
Wittlinger's (Lombardo's Law) somewhat overdramatized account of unrequited love explores the complexity of relationships in the 1990s. The story unfolds through the thoughts and writings of John Galardi, a high school student who pens a zine called Bananafish (in homage to J.D. Salinger). John claims he is ""immune to emotion,"" until he meets fellow zine writer Marisol. But Marisol is a lesbian, and she makes it clear from the beginning that her relationship with John can go only so far. John's feelings for Marisol are clouded by his uncertainty about his own sexuality (""I'm not even sure if I'm gay or not,"" he admits to Marisol) and his anger toward both of his parents--his mother, who has not touched him since her divorce five years ago, and his father, who ""always manages to have pressing commitments on weekend nights"" when John stays with him. John's simmering passions for Marisol, which come to a full boil at the prom, predictably lead to disaster. This self-consciously up-to-date novel scratches the surface of perhaps too many issues, but John's intelligent, literate yet raw entries betray more to readers than he knows of himself. The awkwardness of awakening sexuality, a growing preoccupation with identity, and crossing the line from friendship to more are all themes here with which teens will readily identify. Ages 12-up. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1999
Release date: 06/01/1999
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-8072-6192-7
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-0-689-87257-0
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-0-7393-6459-8
Prebound-Glued - 256 pages - 978-0-613-34759-4
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-6458-1
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-20689-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-8072-8866-5
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-689-84154-5
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4391-1556-5
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