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 she's a lesbian) and her instructor, Olivia Frost, the most exquisitely beautiful woman she's ever seen.
But as Marisol ventures into what seems to be her storybook romance with Olivia, things start to go off track. Between the ups and downs of her new relationship, her strained friendship with Lee (a newly out lesbian who is crushing big-time on Marisol), and her roommate's new boyfriend (who is equally afraid of Marisol and their cat) moving in, Marisol starts losing sight of her goals. Is she too blinded by love to see the lies?
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.
"[T]his solid entry into the small but growing canon of GLBTQ fiction for teens will engage readers." (Booklist)
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Love or Coming of Age
- Me & My Girls
Love is a funny thing isn't it?
Marisol Guzman is a young woman taking a year off from Stanford in order to write a novel and to find love.
Marisol was hoping to find peace and comfort in her apartment in order to concentrate on writing her first novel. However, she doesn't get her wish. Her gay roommate, Birdie, who is her childhood best friend, has fallen head over heels over a man and asked him to move in without consulting with her first. In addition, while enrolling at an adult continuing education class on novel writing, she discovers that Gio has also enrolled. Marisol is awkward because Gio was once in love with her and he seems to be trying to get over her. Meanwhile, at The Mug, where she works, Marisol has befriended a young recently-outed lesbian, Lee.
Despite the chaos in her life, Marisol is high on infatuation and love. Olivia Frost, the one teaching the class, is stunningly beautiful and intelligent. Before she knows it, boundaries are blurred and they are girlfriends.
Love is grand, right? Not for Marisol because her relationship with Olivia soon takes a nosedive. Plus, there's Lee, who isn't sure of her feelings. And Gio, who seems to have move on, still brings up the past. Just what is Marisol supposed to do?
Her salvation to the surrounding chaos is her novel, which she seems to have a natural talent for writing. The characters and the plot in her story are a reflection of her own life. Nonetheless, it is therapeutic for Marisol.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book by Ellen Wittlinger. She does a fantastic job of making another (Marisol's) story within the book. I was a little hesitant because of the techniques and exercises that the writing students had to do. However, Wittlinger didn't disappoint me because the developing story was just as interesting.
Plus, there's plenty of drama to keep you interested. Having roommates, drama is guaranteed. Jealousy and lies are a-plenty. An overbearing mother and a sister just cannot stay out of other people's lives and resentment is bound to rear its tempermental head.
Again, an enjoyable read and I would recommend my friends to read this book.