Giovannino, Annina, Salvatore, Savio. Fictitious names perhaps, but real young men and women – already seasoned and hardened in many ways – who struggle to survive in castigating realities on the margins of a society that provides them no decent opportunities. They exist in Naples, and also in thousands of other cities throughout the world.Though her touching yet realistic prose, Annapatrizia Settembre enables us to see the power of believing in Jonathan’s Youth, a power that transforms both the youth and those who listen to them, get close to them, support them. She wakes our sensibilities to the horror of lives that seem to have no hope, and the responsibility we all have but do not sufficiently act upon. But she also whispers to our hearts that the solutions are not to be found in creating institutions that simply take the youth further away from society. The solution can be found by welcoming them, connecting with them in ways they can relate to, really caring for them in ways that they can feel. The joy, maybe felt for the first time, is real among the youth, but it is perhaps even greater for those who helped to bring light into their lives. It is possible to make a difference. It takes trust in the inner goodness of Jonathan’s youth. It takes understanding. And what it gives back is so much more.

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