Wednesday, June 11, 2014

How To Love by Katie Cotugno {Book Review}

Contemporary Fiction
Publication.Date  October 1st 2013
Published By:  Balzer + Bray
WebsiteKatie Cotugno

How To Love Goodreads
My review copy:I borrowed a copy from my local library. 

                                     Where to get:

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?

That was the thing about Allie, one of the reasons I love her so much: When she made you the object of her terrifying, kinetic energy, it was like standing in a puddle of sun.
 "Don't look so scared, Serena. I'm not going to hurt you." God, that wasn't what I was afraid of, not by a long shot: What scared me was that I was a person capable of still feeling the things I felt for him after everything that had happened. What scared me was that my best friend was gone. Sawyer was the one person in the world who could maybe understand that, the one person who knew what we'd done, and for a second I almost told him everything: why Allie and I had stopped being friends to begin with, how I'd wanted him for so long I didn't even remember what it was like not to.  
I loved Sawyer LeGrande so much that sometimes I couldn't sit still for the fullness of it, but when I opened my mouth to tell him so, nothing came out. I could do anything for him, I realized suddenly, I could give him anything. But not that. If I said that to him, I knew I could never get it back.

This book effortlessly weaves together the meaning of true love.

So if you are looking for a fluffy, no thinking, kind of summer contemporary, I wouldn't suggest this one. There is depth and emotional issues in this story. Told from the viewpoint of Reena before she got pregnant by Sawyer LeGrande and after Sawyer comes back a few years later, this story was not one I will soon forget. 

This was not your typical bad boy, good girl, story, where the girl gets pregnant too young. No, this was a story of a super bright young women who was graduating high school a year earlier, Reena had plans to travel the world.  Both Reena and Sawyer were from good parental homes that attended church on Sunday. So how could something this bad happen to them? 

I really connected with Reena in this book. Yes, she was a bit stand-offish at the beginning, but if I were a private person who had a friend like Allie (her best friend in the beginning of the story), I would probably be that way too. I can't imagine having to deal with the situations that she had to face. The drama - with Sawyer, with the baby, with her family's change, with moving on. Believe me, Reena makes her fair share of stupid mistakes, but you can't help who you fall in love with sometimes.....

The romance in this book was realistic and well thought out. Reena and Sawyer have grown up together. She has crushed on him her whole life but he is way too unattainable for her. So when her best friend Allie starts dating him, she deals with it. After all, her feelings were just a school girl crush. Then Sawyer starts to seek her out and on one such night, they go for ice cream and share a kiss. Reena finally gets her wish. She is dating Sawyer LeGrande or is she? Sometimes she isn't so sure. Then one day Sawyer just leaves. He doesn't say goodbye, he is just gone and Reena must deal with this pregnancy on her own. Two years later Sawyer is back and it is obvious that there is a lot of unfinished business between them. 

The thing I enjoyed most about this book was the way it was written. The author wrote each chapter as a before (when Sawyer and Reena were younger) and as a after (the current day). It was crucial learning about Reena and Sawyer’s past as there were so many obstacles as to why things ended up the way they did. But instead of overwhelming us with the entire back story, Katie Cotugno weaved in the story in small doses alongside what was happening today. I thought the writing method was brilliant and made the story that much better to read.

 A beautifully written, heart breaking tale, of young love and its tragic consequences.


About the Author

Katie Cotugno went to Catholic school for thirteen years which makes her, as an adult,

both extremely superstitious and prone to crushes on boys wearing blazers. She routinely finds herself talking about the romantic endeavors of characters on TV shows as if they actually exist in the world.

Katie is a Pushcart Prize nominee whose work has appeared in The Broadkill Review, The Apalachee Review, and Argestes, as well as on Her first novel, HOW TO LOVE, is due out from Balzer + Bray on October 1st, 2013.

The great loves of Katie's life include child's pose, her little sister, and mozzarella and honey sandwiches. She lives in Boston (and in sin) with her boyfriend, Tom.
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