It is clear after reading just the first page that Hard Love is a unique novel. It portrays love from a male adolescent perspective, uncommon among teen romance novels.

Living at his mom’s house during the week and his dad’s on weekends, John has never experienced romantic feelings. He begins to accept that maybe he is just weird and destined to be alone, which, after his parents’ rocky marriage and divorce, doesn’t bother him too much. He is comfortable with his one good friend and his ‘zine writing and then, right in the middle of his largely uneventful life, John meets Marisol and everything changes.

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For the first time, John feels an instant connection with a girl. The reader follows him on his journey through what really is Hard Love – Marisol is a lesbian.

As John struggles to maintain his friendship with Marisol despite his painfully unrequited love, the rest of his life begins to fall apart. His jealousy of his best friend’s relationship with his new girlfriend makes their friendship tense. And, in his emotionally fragile state, he begins to notice what a coward his father is, and how negatively he feels toward his mother.

The author’s style is realistic and attention-grabbing, and the story shines light on how similar the ordeals of boys and girls can be when it comes to love. I highly recommended this to teens as well as adults who want a look into the adolescent mind. It’s especially suitable for, as the author dedicates it, “anyone whose first love was a hard one.” .

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