HOW TO LOVE by Katie Cotugno
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins Publisher (October 1, 2013)
Synopsis: Before: Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember. But he’s never noticed that Reena even exists…until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. Then Sawyer disappears 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. Reena’s gotten used to life without Sawyer, but just as suddenly as he disappeared, he turns up again. Reena wants nothing to do with him, though she’d be lying if she said his being back wasn’t stirring something in her.
After everything that’s happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?
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When I originally picked up this book, I’m not really sure what I was expecting – but one thing I know for sure, I wasn’t expecting what I got. This book is a heartbreakingly real story about a young girl who finds out she is pregnant, just as her boyfriend disappears. The story opens three years later, where the reader meets Reena, a young mother raising a three-year-old baby girl on her own. Cotugno doesn’t gloss over any of the details of Reena and Sawyers story – instead she tells the story in a realistic way showing the hardships of teen pregnancy.
The story is formatted in a “before and after” format, with the chapters alternating between a time before Reena’s pregnancy and three years later, when Sawyer, the father of her child, reappears. The mystery of where Sawyer disappeared to and why, as well as the unknown past of Reena and Sawyer’s love story, is unfolded throughout the story. The number of unanswered questions at the beginning of the book keeps the reader interested and engaged.
While the storyline was good and the characters well developed, there were some slow parts of the text that could have been cut down. I found myself getting bored in these parts. However, by the end I was glad that I stuck through the slow parts and finished the book.