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Hard Love This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     It sure sounded like any other teen angst “I-love-you-but-you-can't-love-me-back” affair that's been stocking the shelves of every library lately. Thank goodness I was wrong. This book is definitely full of angst, but it hits something inside so deeply that you can't help but like it.

Wittlinger's main creation, a bitter yet lovable cynic named John “Giovanni” Gaiardi, Jr., has more problems than fingers. His dad left and now lives the life of a 20-year-old frat boy; his mom, after the divorce, sinks into herself. Just when he feels like his life has no purpose, he meets Marisol, a lively “Puerto Rican-Cuban-Yankee-lesbian.” She brings him to life and the two find themselves, but not without the usual shocking scenes where one declares his love, and the other rejects it.

By the end, they both still have problems, but things are definitely improving. It leaves you hanging, hoping for a sequel, but it's not necessarily unsatisfying.

All in all, the book is one of the best in the young-adult genre I've read lately. If you only get one thing from it, it may be the message to be you, whoever you are, and someone will love you for it.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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