Book: How To Love by Katie Cotugno
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Date Published: October 1st, 2013
Date Started: July 8th, 2014
Date Finished: July 12th, 2014
Other Books Reviewed: 99 Days
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.
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.
Oh How to Love. This book is exactly what you’d expect out of the title. Its about someone having to learn how to break out of their cold hard shell and loving someone. Reena is a girl who was on her way to exploring the world and going to college. But not so quite unexpectedly, Reena falls in love with Sawyer, the boy thats been in her life ever since she can remember. But one day, when she’s 16, Sawyer leaves without telling anyone. And before Reena can tell him that she’s pregnant. Two years later, and Sawyer returns to unexpectedly find that he has a child. But can Reena and Sawyer fall in love again? This story is told in alternating time settings, one chapter from 16 year old Reena, the next with a more grown up Reena, and back and forth.
One thing that I loved about this book, was the fact that you get to see these two characters fall in love twice. But their love is so messy and complicated, and for anyone thats been in love, you know thats the case. But especially for Reena and Sawyer. Their love is complicated by drugs, deaths of people around them, having an unexpected baby, and absences. But sometimes in love, you cannot help who you love, even against better judgement.
I really loved Reena in this book. I think that a lot of people can relate to her, with or without the teen pregnancy. Reena was on the way to Northwestern University, and had this crazy life planned out for herself traveling the world. But things changed, and her plans had to change as well. I think for some people, they can relate to this. I mean I always expected to be traveling a lot more these days, but theres a little thing called money that gets in the way. But I still get to travel every once in a while. I also loved how she relates to Sawyer. Reena thinks that she is a hermit and collected, but Sawyer brings something out in her that makes her loud and emotional, and sometimes thats exactly what you need. Before Sawyer, Reena was cold and kept everything in this shell. After Sawyer left, she placed herself back into that shell, but she had to not only protect herself, but also her baby. When Sawyer comes back, she has to break that shell again, but its hard for her, and she can’t help but build that shell back up again. If you’ve ever been a person who finds it difficult to let people in, (god knows I’m one of those people), you’ll find that you can relate to this book. I found myself relating to Reena time and time again.
One of the issues that this book deals with is teen pregnancy, but it doesn’t deal with it in a cliched way. What I like about it is that it shows a character after her pregnancy. Life still goes on, and even though she’s a parent now, she’s still allowed to make mistakes, fall in love, and just kind of act like a teenager again. I had no doubt that Reena could take of her baby, but you just feel her bottling herself up into her own little world, and you want her to be happy. This book can really draw out a lot of emotions in you.
To be honest, I think that this book felt a but more mature than a teenage story. I mean, when you’re reading the 16 year old Reena bits, it feels like a 20 year old going back on old memories from a couple of years ago, which may seem like a long time to someone like Reena. This book also deals with some dark issues like addiction, which I no doubt know that some teenagers deal with, but I think my teenager self wouldn’t have gotten into this book as much as my 20 something today self would.
So if you love contemporary books, love stories, or just seeing someone rise against the cards that they have been handed, I’m sure you’ll love this book. I sure did.