Review: How to Love by Katie Cotugno

Monday, April 21, 2014
Why I chose this book: 
I had read several of my book friend's reviews of this book, and they loved it. I also attended Julie Murphy's release of Side Effects May Vary. While there, she gave away a copy of this book, claiming that it was one of her favorite reads of this year. After reading the synopsis, this seemed like the perfect heartfelt romance that I needed. 

How to Love by Katie Cotugno
Publisher: Blazer+Bray
Publish Date: October 1, 2013
Format: Hardback
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary/Realistic, Romance
B&N || Amazon || Indiebound

Before: Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: as natural as breathing, as endless as time. But he's never seemed to notice that Reena even exists until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town without a word, leaving a devastated-and pregnant-Reena behind. After: Almost three years have passed, and there's a new love in Reena's life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena's gotten used to being without Sawyer, and she's finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. Reena doesn't want anything to do with him, though she'd be lying if she said Sawyer's being back wasn't stirring something in her. After everything that's happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again? (Goodreads)

Three Things You Need to Know:

1. This isn't a typical teen pregnancy book. 
Do not be deceived. This is not your normal teen fluff novel. This book is filled with humanly flawed characters that make your heart ache. I loved Reena and Sawyer's story so much, because it reminded me a lot of my own. Both characters reveal their stories through a series of flashbacks, unraveling their brokenness down to the core. As the story progresses, you see how they both began to rebuild from their past to become different people, for better and for worse. 

2. Quiet feminism in a loud way. 
One of the things I loved was that Cotugno shows how society handles women and teenage pregnancy. When Reena becomes pregnant, Sawyer jumps ship leaving her to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Cotugno holds no prisoners when illustrating the shaming that women must endure, while men skip out quite easily. Reena is treated like a failure, a messed up and forgotten project, while Sawyer returns as the prodigal son. 

3. Forgiveness and love. 
There are some tough themes of forgiveness throughout the book. Reena learns that her past doesn't dictate her future, and forgiveness is the only way she can let go of the bitterness she holds inside. I also loved the father/daughter moments that Cotugno throws in that made me weep late into the night. This book does not mess around when it comes to feels. 

Final Thoughts: 
I loved this book. I wanted more of Reena and Sawyer's story. I loved them and hated them all because I saw myself in their actions. This was a book that tugged at so many of my heartstrings and left me up at night saying, "Okay, just one more page." 

I gave the book four stars on Goodreads

1 comment:

  1. The synopsis alone was enough to make me want to read this book. Romance + quiet feminism = on my list!


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