How to Love by Katie Cotugno

Monday, April 14, 2014

Title : How to Love
Author : Katie Cotugno
Genre : Contemporary
Published Date : 
October 1st 2013
Publisher : Balzer + Bray
Pages : 389
Source : Bought

From Goodreads :
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?


The first time I saw this book, I was totally in love with the color-block cover and the cute chalky font. I mean, that cover is nothing but gorgeous, right? Reading again, the blurb says 'baby'. And I was like, "What, baby? Teen mom, you mean?" and got a little discouraged by it. Teen mom is deemed controversial in here, but when this book sold me with a promise of a second chance to the first love, well, who can resist?

And ooh, there's Jakarta mentioned in there! Well, hello there my Indonesia.

"A baby before my seventeenth birthday and a future as lonely as the surface of the moon and still just the sight of him feels like a homecoming, like a song I used to know but somehow forgot."

As it has promised, sure, this book has its romance, and it has an interesting way to introduce both the young and the old version of Reena and Sawyer with its alternating narration of 'After' and 'Before'. Plus, the two of it complement each other. And how it was all wrapped up and resolved is just pretty. 

But with the dual narration, comes backstory as well. And in this case, I think the backstory makes the whole book felt a little bit too stretched out. Like maybe it could be shortened and condensed a hundred page less or so, but didn't.

And also, unfortunately, the beginning of the story is just waaay too confusing. I mean, up until where Reena and Sawyer met again was great. But after that, there's this backstory in the 'Before', telling us their friends, their family, their this and that.
And it's a part that totally made me going "Who are you again?" to all of them. Because there's a serious case of name mentioning without any backing description going on here at the beginning.
Although, it does have a plus too, like we already got to know that Reena will ended up pregnant, and that jerk Sawyer will be gone. But still, we want to know how they ended up together before the baby. And it's not easy to do that, trust me.

As for the character, Reena, I think, is very humanly and totally easy to relate to. But I feel kinda annoyed by her whenever she turned into this backbone-less girl when Sawyer is around. Like seriously, he is not that charming, and I sure as hell don't find myself swooning pathetically over him at all. In fact, he was so flat. 
So why oh why did our rational heroine become super stupid just because a boy? Oh, because it's the mighty Sawyer LeGrande. Hm, Reena, think again. Even if it was the story's issue, she surely wouldn't be THAT stupid, would she?

But what I love the most about them is how Reena and Sawyer totally grew as a character. And if you compared the first page and the last page of them, you'll see like a huge difference, and that's exactly what I prefer my character to be : growing.

Overall, I think How to Love is not a spectacular contemporary read and all. It doesn't disappoint, but it doesn't make me want to hug and kiss and sleep with it as well. If you're looking for a contemporary read that's a little deeper than usual, with interesting narration and visible yet believable character's growth, you might want to try this one.

Cheers, x

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  1. You know, I only added this book because I saw people raving about it how good it was + I loved the cover, but I never realized it was about a teen mom! It's good to hear that both characters display character development. It sounds vital for a book like this :)

    1. Yep, the development was definitely great! Hope you'll like it when you read it!

  2. humm sounds like it was a little bit confusing. I can see where the first part might have left you scratching your head

    1. It definitely is. But it gets better in the second half! :)


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