School Library Journal
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Gr 9 Up-Marisol Guzman, 18, puts off enrolling at Stamford for a year so she can write a novel. She gets a job at a local coffee shop and signs up for a writing course through the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. Olivia, the instructor, is strikingly beautiful, a number of years older, and appears to have the knowledge and skills to teach the class. Looks can be deceiving, however, and Marisol learns this truth the hard way when she becomes involved in her first real sexual relationship. Her former buddy, Gio, whose romantic feelings for Marisol were thwarted because she is a lesbian, coincidentally registers for the same class and their friendship is restored. Marisol's friend and apartment mate, Birdie; his new love, Damon; and Gio realize early on that Olivia is pushy, inconsiderate, and manipulative, but Marisol doesn't listen. Wittlinger's companion to Hard Love (S & S, 1999) effectively continues the story from Marisol's point of view. Characters are well drawn and believable, and the interpersonal relationships realistic. Along with her friends, readers can see early on that Marisol's relationship with "the teacher" is courting disaster. Witnessing Olivia's jealousy and mistreatment and wishing Marisol would finally open her eyes creates effective page-turning tension. Although everything falls apart and it is too late to fix things, there is a note of hope at the end that cries out for yet another installment of this compelling story.-Diane P. Tuccillo, Fort Collins Regional Library District, CO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.