Study Guide

Hard Love Genre

By Ellen Wittlinger

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Young Adult Literature; Coming of Age

Our main dude is a junior in high school, and his BFF-turned-dream girl is one year ahead of him. The two of them worry about stuff like love, sex, identity, and exploration, which are usually all part of young adult lit. Hard Love takes its own twist on the popular genre, though—so while there's plenty of angst and drama, it gives us a more grown-up tale of love between two people. In the end, there's no grand resolution or happy ending; instead, we see heartbreak. And because of this, we're saying it has one foot in the coming of age genre, too.

See, by not painting a super rosy picture, John's path takes a more adult turn. He decides to open himself up anyway, despite understanding that it may very well mean he gets hurt again. After a youthful rejection of connection, he steps into the more mature position of being willing to risk his heart for the potential gains he stands to come into through connecting with other people. Is he all the way an adult yet? Nah. But like we said—the book definitely hangs out on coming of age turf.

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