Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Review: How to Love by Katie Cotugno

By 4:06 PM , , , ,

How to Love
   by: Katie Cotugno

Publication Date: Oct. 1, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: e-ARC received from Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 389 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 4/5 stars

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.
I really enjoyed this debut novel from author Katie Cotugno. I had first seen this one as a fellow blogger's Waiting on Wednesday post and I knew I needed to read it. As I've said- the contemporary scene is where it's been at lately for me.
I loved that this book goes back and forth in time. And it didn't bother me at all! I felt it flowed so naturally, that I never got confused, which is always a good thing. It also gives us such a deeper understanding of what life was like before with Sawyer and Reena and what it is currently- this plays such a huge factor in the novel. The past really does shape the future and it was necessary to see what transpired previously.
 I liked Reena's character. She is shy and quiet and is the complete opposite of her best friend, Allie. She has known Sawyer LeGrange since they were kids and has been in love with him for quite some time. However, as is the case of unrequited love- she never did get a chance to make a move. Once her best friend Allie swooped in, Reena found herself withdrawing from her friend. It was too difficult to watch her best friend be with the boy she has cared about for so long. After a terrible tragedy, Reena is haunted by the things she wished she done or said and when she tries to talk to Sawyer about it- he won't open up.
Sawyer was a difficult character to like. He was a jerk to be honest and I didn't quite see that special something Reena saw in him. Yet, she was drawn to him and once he showed her that he wanted her too she was on cloud nine. However, Sawyer has a drug problem and drags Reena to parties, where she feels out of place and uncomfortable. Yet, she is so blinded by her love for him, she doesn't realize just how bad things really are. Sawyer abruptly leaving town is like a bucket of cold water for her, especially since she has just found out she is pregnant at 16.
Having a baby changes everything for Reena. Her relationship with her dad is strained, as he is very religious. Her step-mother, Soledad, is really there for her though, as well as her good friend, Shelby. 3 years later Reena is moving forward with her life, her daughter, and even has a new boyfriend- Shelby's brother, Aaron. However, when Sawyer LeGrange shows back up in town, Reena is not prepared for the whirlwind he's sure to leave behind.
Present-day Sawyer is actually a man I like. He has matured in every way and genuinely wants to be back in Reena's life. The scenes of Sawyer and his daughter are heartbreakingly beautiful. Reena knows she should stay away, but she can't. Here is the boy she has loved for so long, back and determined to be a part of her and Hannah's lives.
Reena has a lot of decisions to make. She has to decide if letting Sawyer back in is a good idea and if she can remain on a friends only basis with him. Reena doesn't want her relationship with her father to be strained and there is one scene where her family, Sawyer, and his parents are having dinner together where she really lets loose with her feelings. And my heart broke for her because she was so right. She needed support, not condemnation- she needed her father who loved her unconditionally, not someone who would judge her and make her feel less than she was. That scene was crazy powerful!
Overall, I enjoyed this one, but I did feel bad for Reena's boyfriend Aaron. He really cares about her and wants to be a part of both her and Hannah's lives. I was glad Reena had someone to be happy with and care for her during the times she needed someone the most. I did like how it ended though- Reena understands that just because she has a daughter now, doesn't mean she can't still live out her dreams. Yet, before she can do that, she knows she has to make amends and forgive those who had previously wronged her.
Even though this is a YA, I feel like it should be rated as a Mature Young Adult, due to sexual content, drug/alcohol usage.

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  1. Yay! This is one of my new faves, so I'm so glad that you like it. I was interested to see what you didn't like about it, and it seems like old Sawyer. I didn't like him at first too, and I don't know if I'm rationalizing it away, but I kind of thought he was an asshole cause the whole guilt thing. I thought that's where his problems got real. But I don't want to post spoilers.

    1. Yes! Old Sawyer wasn't doing it for me, but I can see where you thought he was a jerk, but maybe it was the overwhelming guilt he felt. I do think that had to do with it and why his other problems got so heavy. I loved the new Sawyer though- you can really see his maturing in the book and I love that!

  2. Great review!

    This one sounds like an emotional whirlwind! Definitely sounds like a very good read :) I hate when not all characters in the book have a happy ending.. I know it's more realistic, but dammit, if I just want everyone to be happy! Might have to give this one a try!!!

    1. Oh it so was Magen! I want everyone to be happy too- and the ending left me very satisfied and happy!

  3. Awesome review!!! I can't wait to read this one :D And girl your review makes me want to read it even more xD .....but I really like HEAs Hmms
    Happy reading



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