How to Love

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4.0
 
4.7 (2)
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How to Love
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
14+
Release Date
October 01, 2013
ISBN
978-0062216359
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For fans of Sarah Dessen and John Green, How to Love is a breathtaking debut about a couple who falls in love . . . twice.

Before: Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember. But he's never noticed that Reena even exists . . . until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears 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. Reena's gotten used to life without Sawyer, but just as suddenly as he disappeared, he turns up again. Reena wants nothing to do with him, though she'd be lying if she said his being back wasn't stirring something in her.

After everything that's happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Stunning Debut
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
What I loved: How to Love captivated me right from the very beginning. Reena's story bounces back and forth between the time that Sawyer was her boyfriend to the present time--she has his baby and he just reappeared back into her life. I enjoyed this approach because it gives readers plenty of back story without the pace bogging down.

Reena's character may be a tough one for some people to like. I found her honest and realistic. And I can't help but love Sawyer. As many issues as he has, he is still really likable. I think readers will be pulling for these two to make it.

I can't fail to mention the supporting characters as well. I adored Reena's friend Shelby, she is a true friend and seems like a lot of fun to be around. Reena also struggles with her relationship with her father, especially since she found out she was pregnant. Their relationship is an important part of the story and packs a pretty emotional punch.

What left me wanting more: Only one thing bothered me in this story and I'm sure it's just a personal preference. When Reena is talking about Hannah she often refers to her as "the baby." I wish her name, Hannah, was used more often. This stuck out to me and is a small issue in an overall fantastic book.

Final Verdict: Katie Cotugno takes on some heavy issues--teen drinking, drugs, and teen pregnancy and she does so in a way that is honest and realistic. None of the issues are glorified and readers get an honest picture of a difficult situation. I think fans of contemporary authors like John Green, Jessi Kirby, and Trish Doller will enjoy Katie Cotugno's debut.
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User reviews

2 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.5  (2)
Characters 
 
4.5  (2)
Writing Style 
 
5.0  (2)
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A Beatiful, Realistic Read
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
MY THOUGHTS
I will read basically anything YA, but I do tend to avoid books with teen pregnancy or sports. Obviously this book focuses on the former. For awhile, I didn't bother to pick up this book, but for some reason I decided to go outside my comfort zone and I discovered this beautiful book.

This book is separated in before and after. Before, Reena has always had a crush on Sawyer, but it seems that he never really sees her, that he prefers her best friend instead. But one day he does and they develop a strong, but bumpy relationship, that leaves with Reena pregnant and Sawyer disappearing.
Flash forward three years and Reena now has a beautiful daughter named Hannah. Reena is now used to her life and even has a boyfriend, when Sawyer comes back to town. Sawyer was completely unaware that Reena was pregnant and wants to fix what he broke, as well as get to know Hannah, but can Reena let him into her life again.

I think what makes this book really beautiful is how realistic it is. This book has very raw realism, but it only makes it more beautiful, if that makes any sense. This book is told via both before and after which only enhances this. It's very interesting because we already know what happened, from the after, but we only know the ending. Through the before, we learn so much more about the relationship and it makes everything more clear.

Reena is our main character and she's a great one at that. In the before chapters she has naive innocence, which does change as it goes on. In the after chapters, she's such a strong character. She's been through a lot in her young life, but she continues to take it. She loves her daughter and does a great job at raising her, as well as going to college classes and work. What's really frustrating is that nobody seems to see how strong she is, only her mistakes, and it takes awhile to get people to see this part of her.

I'm a bit torn on Sawyer. I liked after Sawyer, but before Sawyer was a bit of a jerk. He was a troublemaker and did drugs. Even though, it was obvious that he did love Reena. He just had his own issues. In the after, Sawyer has changed after traveling the country. He is no longer a troublemaker and he really is sweet. He really does want to fix things.

As for romance, I don't consider this a romance book. Yeah, it's about a couple falling in love, twice, but there's more to this book than that. This book is about how to love, but not only the romance variety. It is about family, bothe Reena's and Sawyer's, who distanced themselves after Hannah. It is also about Hannah. This book is also about being able to forgive and learning how to love again.

IN CONCLUSION
Anyway, I'm getting a bit teary-eyed while writing this review. Overall, this was a very realistic, but beautiful read. I'm very glad that I reached out of my comfort zone and picked up this book! I already have Katie Cotugno's new book checked out from the library, so I hope to read that one soon!
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Really hit home for me
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
I have to say I loved every word of this book. Being a young mom myself I found a lot of scenarios in this book really hitting home for me. I thought Reena was written as a very realistic teen mother. It was like I was looking back at my own personal story. I also loved Sawyer. I found myself rooting for these two to make it. Sawyer who has his own demons to tackle can be very charming and sweet.

Perhaps my favorite thing about this story is how the chapters alternated between Before & After. I loved seeing how Sawyer and Reena fell in love prior to Reena becoming pregnant and how their lives now were crossing paths again now that Sawyer was back in town. This made it easy to see exactly how much they each have grown in the few years since they last saw each other. They definitely have matured.

This book does tackle some tough issues such as drug abuse, drinking and teen pregnancy. I think these issues were dealt with head on. Everything was handled very well and was so realistic. This was a beautiful story of a teen mother, young love and the struggles young people are faced with these days.

I cannot wait to read more from this author.
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