Study Guide

Hard Love Friendship

By Ellen Wittlinger

Friendship

The friendships in Hard Love sure are complicated, but they're also very realistic. In the novel, just like in real life, friends fight, make up, have misunderstandings, support one another, and accidentally or purposefully hurt each other's feelings. Take when John drops an f-bomb just to get under Marisol's skin. Or, when she returns the favor by sending him a deep and dark poem about how he's not listening to her. But so it goes with friendships—they're rarely perfect, but that doesn't mean they're not super worth it.

Questions About Friendship

  1. What matters more to John: having friends, or acting like he has friends? Why is he always acting like he's better than Brian? 
  2. Is John always a good friend? Why does he push people away all the time? 
  3. How is John's friendship with Brian different than his friendship with Marisol? Which one is stronger? 
  4. Do you think Marisol and John are still friends after the book ends? Will they be friends a few years down the road?

Chew on This

Brian is John's truest friend because he sticks with him through all the years when John's completely closed off emotionally.

Marisol is John's truest friend because she inspires the biggest change in him—his shift from closed to more open.

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