October 29, 2013

How to Love - Katie Cotugno

How To Love - Katie Cotugno
How To Love by Katie Cotugno
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Source/Format: Borrowed from Britta (Thank you!) || ARC

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? (from Goodreads)

There was no way I could have possibly been prepared for how much I was going to enjoy How to Love. It began as a book that felt typical. However, even before I got halfway through it, it just felt like there was something incredibly different about it. While the elements may be familiar, and have certainly been used in many a book before, there was something about how Cotugno put her entire story together that simply worked. Besides, who can resist a good love story? I know I can't!

The story she weaves is beautiful, heartbreaking and surprisingly complex. Reading the summary makes one feel like they can already predict how this story will play out. And while there are certainly things I was able to guess at, Cotugno writes them out beautiful, adding quirks and details that make everything her own. Her story touched my heart, and once it took possession of it, it just refused to let go in spite of all the ups and downs that these characters are forced to face.

One element that I particularly liked the use of in this book was the jump between the present day and the flashbacks, even though it was initially jarring. It served as a neat way to shed some light on who Reena and Sawyer were, and what had been between them, and what could be between them. While this certainly might not work for all readers, it's a device that I've found works for me, and the author definitely used it effectively.

How to Love is one of the strongest contemporary releases of this year. Even though it took a little while to get into the groove of this story, I wound up finding the entire thing to be an enjoyable, emotional roller coaster of an experience. I'd certainly say it was a worth a read if you're looking for a new contemporary novel to love, or if you're in the market for a story that feels both familiar and different all at once. 


  1. Oh yay I'm glad you really liked it! I am obsessed with the cover and cannot wait to read this book!

  2. This one sounds awesome! I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have picked it up had I not read this review (yay you!) but I like that there's more to it than just a typical story.

  3. This one is on my TBR. I hope I get to it soon!

  4. Stellar review! I seriously loved this book. I agree that the flashbacks were definitely one of my favorite elements to the overall novel.

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