Study Guide

Hard Love Fear

By Ellen Wittlinger

Fear

If you're expecting a secret room full of horrors or a cabin in the woods, then you've come to the wrong place—the fear in Hard Love just ain't the horror film type. Instead, John is scared of emotions and getting close to people. Okay, yeah, that doesn't exactly have us running for the hills, but that doesn't mean that John isn't super scared of the pain people can cause when you let them into your heart. And bummer for him, this kind of fear can't be solved with popcorn and clinging to your friend's hand until the creepy flesh-eating monster is off the screen.

Questions About Fear

  1. Why is John so afraid of emotion? When does he show emotion and what does he show it for? 
  2. What is Marisol afraid of? What about John scares her? 
  3. Why is John's mom scared of touching him? What does it represent to her? 
  4. In the end, does the book ask us to put our fears aside, or keep our shields up?

Chew on This

John is too scared to let anyone in, but when he does, his fears are only confirmed.

Marisol is afraid of how John feels about her, because it makes her question her own identity.

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