Sunday 22 December 2013

How to Love by Katie Cotugno

How to Love
Author: Katie Cotugno
Pages: 389
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

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?

In this breathtaking debut, Katie Cotugno weaves together the story of one couple falling in love—twice.

Anything about second chance romances I will completely devour. When How to Love first made its release, I made sure to quickly request a hold from the library. Originally, I was going to buy myself my own copy, but I wasn't quite sure if I was going to like it. Personally, I only like to buy books that I thoroughly loved and enjoyed. But after reading this, How to Love will definitely have spot on my shelf.

Switching between "Before" and "After", I wasn't really sure if I was going to enjoy it. Lauren Oliver's Pandemonium was written the same way; only though I wasn't too keen on it. Beautiful writing, of course, but I was quite irritated because I never really cared for the flashbacks. With this one, I had no problems with either one of them. I really think that they complimented each other well. 

Knowing each other since they were kids, Reena Montero has always loved Sawyer LeGrande. Reena and her best friend, Allie watched Sawyer from the sidelines. They would constantly talk about him and giggle over him. But everything changed between Allie and Reena. Allie became Sawyer's girlfriend and everything shifted. 

Our main character, Reena, was ambitious and exceptionally smart. With a chance to leave high school early, she was ready to explore the world, but one night with Sawyer ruined it. Despite her mistakes, I really enjoyed Reena. Yeah, she was naive, but she definitely grew as a character. Being a teen mom isn't easy especially without the Father around. Reena struggles a lot in this novel: the death of her best friend, a Father who looks down on her and her ex-boyfriend returning to town. But seeing Reena overcome these obstacles were simply moving and gut-wrenching.

 Moving onto Sawyer, our love interest, I hate to admit he was a jerk. Leaving her alone at parties, quickly getting drugs before their date, showing up drunk at her house, Sawyer was a complete disaster. But I really liked him. Yeah, he left when Reena needed him most, but I think it was the best choice for both of them. Sawyer came back, determined to be a Father for their child and to win Reena's heart once again. Most importantly, Sawyer was clean - no longer living in his old ways.

Messy love. Second chances. Katie Cotugno, you are the only author that managed to hook me in by the first chapter. 

4.5/ 5 stars

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