by Ellen Wittlinger Book : Fiction : Secondary (senior high) school  |  1st ed
A great return to the story   (2009-09-08)
While reading this book, it made me remember how much I enjoyed Hard Love... in fact, I was surprised at how deeply I felt about Marisol and John/Gio. I did a little squeal of joy when Gio showed up in Marisol's writing class, and seeing the way that his life has changed in the months between books, I felt relieved... so I suppose that speaks to Ellen Wittlinger's ability to create characters that stay with you and that you care for.
On that same note, I spent a lot of this book wanting to shake Marisol and say "open your eyes!" For a character who came across as wise-beyond-her-years in Hard Love, she was certainly foolish in this book. Which again makes me wonder at Wittlinger's writing - I think she just really gets teens... and the fact that hitting 18 and graduating high school doesn't elevate you to all-knowing adulthood. Marisol wants so badly to be in love and to be an excellent writer, and when her writing teacher, Olivia Frost, becomes her lover and compliments her on her writing abilities, Marisol just falls head-over-heels in love. While I appreciate the way that Wittlinger writes her, I just had a hard time reconciling this Marisol with the one I was used to in Hard Love. They didn't feel like the same character, and while I was happy to see Gio growing and developing, I felt like Marisol took some huge steps back that maybe didn't make a lot of sense. It makes me wonder about the Marisol of Hard Love, and if she was much more naive than I had assumed. Also, I'm just sooo creeped out at Olivia. I got a serious case of the jibblies whenever she flirted with Marisol.
I did, however, like the way that Marisol's Story ended. I thought it was realistic and very fair to the other character involved (that's my attempt to be spoiler-free). The portrayal of the writing classes is also spot-on... if you've ever taken the intimate writing classes, you'll recognize the awkwardness, competition, and just-plain weird characters you find in that setting.
This was a good story and I'm so happy to have revisited these characters. If you're looking for a story about love, crushes, and writing that doesn't always go right, this is a perfect book for you.
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