Monday, January 6, 2014

Stephanie's Review of HOW TO LOVE by Katie Cotugno

(Goodreads Blurb)
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?

In this breathtaking debut, Katie Cotugno weaves together the story of one couple falling in love—twice.
Let me start by saying that few books these days pull me in, grab me, and refuse to let me go. Especially books that are themed on love and only love with no sub plots. I’m picky. I’m easily bored. I don’t often feel flouncer’s remorse. But this book had me at Slurpee.
Good girl Reena has known bad boy Sawyer since they were babies when their parents opened a popular restaurant together. She’s loved him from afar for just as long. But when he secretly begins dating her best friend Allie, Reena learns to deal with the loss of the idea of Sawyer, and of her best friend’s absence. Until the night when Sawyer finally “notices” Reena, and it changes her entire life. They fall in love, have their typical teenage rollercoaster relationship, and then Sawyer skips town.
Thing is, it’s right before Reena can tell him he’s going to be a father.
Two years later, she spots him again at a Slurpee machine, acting like he didn’t just disappear without a word. Reena is torn between hating him and still loving him, and every one of those emotions, even though I’ve never been in her exact position, I could understand. The author takes you through a three year journey making you remember what it's like to be young and naive and so easily taken by a boy's charm....twice.

I just love this story. The characters are so realistic and honest, and the writing is superb. Told in Reena’s point of view, alternating between before and after Sawyer left, the story is about love and loss, acceptance and forgiveness, family, friendship, and what happens when you are left to pick up the pieces alone with a baby, a dead best friend, and a father who can't forgive you.
5 out of 5 stars

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.
How to Love on Amazon
How to Love on B&N
How to Love on Goodreads

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