Monday, November 18, 2013

How To Love by Katie Cotugno

How To Love by Katie Cotugno
Release Date – October 1, 2013
Publisher Website – Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages - 389 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**received from publisher for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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 a story of love, redemption, second chances, sacrifice, and taking leaps of faith. It's also brilliantly written, and has a main character that is easy to love and root for. The love story of Sawyer and Reena didn't resonate as deeply with me, but everything else about this novel was easy to love.

The writing in this novel is engaging, captivating and brings to life the character of Reena. Katie captures Reena perfectly, and allows her writing to show us her character. The first half of the novel is much stronger than the second, and there is a lot of potential for Katie Cotugno to be a force in the contemporary market.

Reena was everything I could want from a main character. She was mature (mostly) and handled becoming a teenage mother with nothing but strength. She wanted to be a good mother, the best mother she could be. Her life focus immediately made that switch. She sacrificed, and made the decisions she needed to. She may make some wrong decisions, but her flaws made her character feel all the more real.

Sawyer never really grew on me. His teenage self was immature, self focused, and a mess. The older version is more put together, and in a much better place. However, the change he needed to make in order for this story work failed to resonate with me. The 'older' Sawyer is supposed to be in a better place, but this never came across for me. It didn't show me the ways he had changed (other than the glaringly obvious) but instead TOLD me he had changed. I wanted his actions to back up his words, and there just wasn't enough character development for 'older' Sawyer to win me over. The little things he does do are a step in the right direction, and perhaps that is the point. He's trying, and attempting to make things right. I just wish I had seen why he deserves a second chance and redemption.

The approach this novel takes to teen pregnancy is one of the most realistic portrayals I have read. It felt honest. The balance between trying to be a teen, and being a mother came across, and the hard truths that came along with it were put under a harsh light. The incredible moments that would come with being a parent were also included and shone a bright light in the murkiness that is Reena's life.

The message of hope, and healing is so prevalent throughout the novel. It's ultimately an uplifting read that shows that life may take some unexpected turns, but perhaps those turns are what make it worth living. Dreams may change, and sometimes turn into something you never expected. The fact that Reena took what came and did her best with it was a refreshing, and affirming character trait that made me love her all the more. It also made me love the novel's message.

Katie Cotugno is a talented writer, and I look forward to whatever she might come out with next. I certainly adored Reena, but wished I had gotten a little more from Sawyer. All that aside, How To Love is a touching, realistic novel filled with the message of promise and hope.

1 comment:

  1. I've been curious about this book for a little while now. So glad to hear you enjoyed it. :)


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