Saturday, 21 September 2013

Review: How to Love by Katie Cotugno

Title: How to Love
Author: Katie Cotugno
Release date: October 1st 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Format: eARC
Pages: 272
Source: Edelweiss

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.

How to Love is basically a love story, though it's not what you'd expect. It's a story of before and after, of a couple who've been through a lot both on their own and together, and how they try to get past it all. This sounded pretty intriguing to me from the synopsis, but I was unfortunately quite disappointed with it on the whole.

I did like the writing style, the way the book alternates between before and after. It's definitely more interesting that way, though you have to make sure you're paying attention or you'll get confused between the two. That happened to me a couple of times, and I had to go back to re-read the chapter when I realized my mistake. I liked the stark contrast between the characters before and after, and I think it was nice to see how they've grown since then.

However, I couldn't connect with the characters at all. I definitely did not like Sawyer pretty much all the time, except for a few redeeming moments of his. Reena I sympathized with, though I never knew what exactly was going through her head. The book mainly focuses on these two characters, and the side characters seemed like shadows. I would have liked to get to know a few of them better, like Reena's friend Shelby.

I admire Reena for taking on the responsibility of raising a baby on her own at the age of sixteen. That's a year younger than I am at the moment, and I really can't imagine doing anything like that at that age! She gives up her dreams of college and travelling the world, and I did feel sorry for her because of that. And really mad at Sawyer. I liked the later version of Reena because I think she did a good job of raising Hannah, but at the same time I want to slap her for repeating the same mistakes she made as a high schooler. I would not have given Sawyer a second chance so easily, and I feel like Reena should have been strong enough to deny him that.

And Sawyer. I feel mad already just thinking of him. I honestly can't see what Reena saw in him in the first place, because I hated him. He's wasted half the time, he's a freaking pillhead, and he has serious issues. He's throwing away his life, and he doesn't even care. I also didn't like how he went to Reena when he was still dating her best friend. And then when he's with Reena, he just leaves. Without thinking of what it would do to her. Sure, he comes back, but I think it's a little late for that. He does try to make up for his mistakes, though. It's just too bad that I still couldn't feel anything positive towards him.

I will say that the writing in this book is really amazing. Though the characters disappointed me, the writing made me carry on reading. And I did start to enjoy the book towards the end, though it was like right at the end when there were just a few chapters left. I think the ending was nice and kind of sweet, though maybe a little unrealistic. Overall, I'm sad to say this just wasn't for me. But I did enjoy Katie Cotugno's writing, and I'll check out any upcoming novels of hers.

*Thank you to HarperCollins for providing an ARC for review*

Rating: 2/5


  1. OMG! I agree with you entirely! I'm reading this right now and I can't seem to connect with the book....I might make it a DNF

  2. I like the cover. <3 but oh, sorry you didn't like it; that the characters didn't work out. But glad the writing was good at least :)
    Thank you for commenting on my blog a few weeks ago. <3
    Love, Carina @ Carina's Books

  3. The cover is so pretty - it sucks that you didn't enjoy it though :( oh well, there will be good books and there will be okay books! :D


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