Cover image of HARD LOVE by Ellen Wittlinger

Cover image of HARD LOVE by Ellen Wittlinger

BOOK JACKET BLURB: 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 wonder 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.” Haning 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, dysfuntional 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 a 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.

Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1999, $17.99
256 pages
Released June 1, 1999
ISBN 9780689841545
Also published as e-book by Simon Pulse, 2012, $9.99
ISBN 9781439115565 


  • Bulletin for the Center for Children’s Books Blue Ribbon Book, 1999
  • School Library Journal Best Book of 1999
  • Booklist Editor’s Choice, 1999
  • School Library Journal Starred Review, 2000
  • Booklist Starred Review, 2000
  • Michigan Library Association Thumbs Up Award for Young Adult Novels, 2000
  • Lambda Literary Award, 2000
  • Printz Award Honor Book, 2000
  • A YALSA Quick Pick for Young Adults, 2000
  • A YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, 2000
  • New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age list, 2000 and 2001
  • International Reading Association Young Adult Choice, 2001
  • Nominated: Eliot Rosewater (Indiana) High School Book Award, 2001
  • Nominated: Rhode Island Teen Book Award, 2001
  • Nominated: Missouri Gateway Reader’s Choice Award, 2001
  • Nominated: Maryland Library Association Black-Eyed Susan Award, 2001-02
  • Pennsylvania School Librarian’s Association list, 2001-02
  • A YALSA Popular Paperback for Young Adults, 2002
  • Finalist: Evergreen (Washington) Young Adult Book Award, 2002
  • Nominated: Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award, 2003-04
  • YALSA’s 100 Best of the Best for the 21st Century, 1994-2003



The Honor List, Alleen Nilsen’s YA Book Page, 1999

Transgender Characters in Teen Literature: An Interview with Author Ellen Wittlinger, The Hub, YALSA
By Mia Cabana, Published August 19, 2013


Publishers Weekly, May 31, 1999


Interview with Young Adult Book Author Ellen Wittlinger, conducted by Cynthia Leitich Smith
February, 2000

ZigZag to ‘Zines: A Conversation with Ellen Wittlinger, conducted by Toby Emert
The ALAN Review, Fall 2005

Queer YA fiction, Plus an Interview with Ellen Wittlinger, conducted by Malinda Lo
April 6, 2009


Website: http://www.ellenwittlinger.com

Headshot of Ellen Wittlinger

Headshot of Ellen Wittlinger

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