Title: How to Love
Author: Katie Cotugno
Description from Goodreads:
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.
I had heard a lot about How to Love from Epic Reads, and I was really excited to read it. It sounded really good. However, though I liked it, I didn’t love it like I thought I would.
Right from the start, I was thrown for a loop. You see, How to Love starts off with Reena walking into a convenience store and seeing Sawyer, not knowing that he was back in town. From there, the book jumped back and forth from her life before Sawyer left and her life after. This was kind of strange to me. I feel like it would have been better if the story had just been told consecutively.
Also, I didn’t really like the characters. Reena’s best friend, Allie, was kind of an oblivious jerk. Sawyer was an arrogant jerk, too, at least in the before scenes. I didn’t like him at all, and I really wondered what Reena saw in him. Because of his attitude, Reena seemed completely insecure and foolish. After Sawyer came back, he seemed like a better guy, but his past behavior still rubbed me the wrong way, and because of all that, Reena ended up being kind of a jerk, too. I definitely didn’t connect to any of the characters.
I also felt like How to Love was a bit longer than it needed to be, like the story could have been told in fewer pages. Sometimes I felt like we just got a little bit too bogged down in the details and everyday life and that not every scene was necessary for the plot to develop.
There were things I did like about How to Love. I liked seeing Reena grow into her own, and I loved her interactions with her daughter, Hannah. Her friend, Shelby, was a great addition as well, along with her stepmother, Soledad. Also, while hard to put my finger on it, there was something that kept me turning the pages. I guess because of the back-and-forth writing, you don’t have the full story as to what happened in their relationship before Sawyer left town or what effect his coming back would have until you reached the end. I guess that curiosity really kept me flipping because I read the whole thing in one day!
I know this review is fairly negative, but I did enjoy How to Love. I just didn’t like it as much as I thought I would, which led to some disappointment. I would still recommend it, though.