Thursday, June 5, 2014

Review: How to Love by Katie Cotugno

Thursday, June 5, 2014 with 4 comments
17332564Title: How to Love
Author: Katie Cotugno
Series: n/a
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: October 1st, 2013
Source: Purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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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?

I’ve wanted to read How to Love for a while now, so I talked Jess into doing a buddy read with me. I’m attracted to books that involve babies or pregnancy. I knew right off the bat that this wasn’t your average teen pregnancy book, based on reviews I had read.

I have to say I’m a little tossed on this one. Having finished it, I immediately slapped a 4 star on it, and now thinking back, it might be more of a 3 or 3 ½. For the sake of rounding up, I’m going to keep my original rating. How to Love was definitely hard to put down. In that sense, it more than deserves it’s 4. Reena and Sawyer’s relationship though… Well I never liked it. Not in the beginning and I’m not even sure I did in the end.

Sawyer is a freaking dick. Simple as that, I don’t think there was even one quality I liked about him. When he’s young he’s a jerk and 3 years later he acts like the past is in the past. Um, not really, there was a child born. .

How to Love is told from past and present. The chapters alternate and I really liked that. It flowed pretty seamlessly, bouncing from one to the other. I was never confused, and I felt like each chapter emphasized the previous when written out that way.

Reena, I didn’t  like her all that much. I mean I did, but she’s just one of those girls I can’t feel sorry for. She did something stupid, with someone she clearly shouldn't have been doing “things” with. I don’t care if she did have a crush on him forever, real life interactions have real life consequences. So she doesn’t get to go travel the world… shoulda had him wrap that shit up!

3 years later, Sawyer is back and all of a sudden this life she’s put together for herself is a mess again. But it didn’t have to be! Ya know? I would have handled things differently, but then again.. I’m older. I wouldn’t be so quick to let him back in my life and stir things up. Baby Daddy or not.

In the end, more things come up that shed a slightly different light on Sawyer, but by then I had pretty much written him off.

The reason I did like this story though, is because it does come off as pretty realistic. I have many friends who have been in similar situations, so though I didn’t always agree with Reena’s actions, I understood them. This stuff happens in real life all the time.

The ending, well I thought it was a little cheesy to be honest, and probably the most unrealistic part of the story. Aside from that, it was a pretty good read and I will definitely read more from this author in the future.

About the author:

Katie CotugnoKatie 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.

Find Katie:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads


  1. Thank you for the fantastic review, April! :) I'm glad you enjoyed it - I hope to read it later this year. :)

  2. I think I gave this one four stars, too, after a little debate. I didn't like the relationship either, but it seemed realistic. At that age, I made some pretty stupid decisions, and then I may or may not have repeated them down the road, lol. So, I get it. I can relate, but that doesn't mean I have to like it, ya know? :P Still, I liked the writing overall. Great review!

  3. Great and very helpful review!

  4. I really loved this book. I know Sawyer seems like a dick, but in my heart of hearts, I don't think he is one (but maybe I'm under his spell too). What I loved about How To Love is that I was sucked into this world and story from the very first pages. Great review :)


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