How to Love by Katie Cotugno
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.
Publishes in US: October 1st 2013 by Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA contemp
Source: Harper teen, Harpercollins via edelweiss
Buy it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Powell’s.
Author stalk away: ~site ~twitter ~blog
This is a very engrossing book. It is a theme that has been done before but what makes this story special are the characters.
The main character, Reena, had a compelling voice. She felt so natural as a character and since she doesn't like the party scene and is more quiet, book smart, and to herself, I def related to her. Her strength isn't found in balls to the wall kick ass, or fiestiness, although you find that some in a sarcastic way, but sometimes she just wins arguments in her head, not aloud, allowing her best friend to save face. She gets herself in a hard spot, with a daughter from the boy she grew up falling in love with who finally found her only to disappear.
When the boy, now young man, Sawyer, comes back in town, there is delicious awkwardness. Reena is understandably hurt and holding him at an arm's length. She doesn't know if he will disappear, and since the narration goes from one time (before) to another (after) I know that there is some unresolved feelings. But she does have a whole new life, and even a boyfriend who makes her happy and doesn't judge. Speaking of the time shifts, they are written very well, and flow seamlessly. It never jarred me and I was always able to keep up with what happened before or after.
I couldn't help but keep Aaron, the current after boyfriend at an arm's length because the synopsis implies that we get to see Sawyer and Reena fall in love again.I didn't want my heart broken falling for him and I didn't want the poor guy to get hurt. But I also just couldn't completely fall for Sawyer either because he really just seemed like a big jerk. I totally understand that he was in pain, that him and his parents had problems, he suffered a loss, but when he came back (which I never really understood why he left so suddenly and no one knew how to get in touch with him, almost seems like plot device.) he was such a jerk to Reena. Though I have to at least give him props for trying when he did return, and that he did come back since he apparently didn't know she was pregnant.
By the end though I was beginning to see them as a couple and how they both have the exterior and interior and have a hard time letting their true selves show. I was pulling for them and didn't think that Sawyer was as complete of a jerk by the end, and wanting them to be happy. I think it was fitting, and even though a bit of an open ending, it tied up everything in the story we just don't know what their happy ever after will exactly look like.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Could you forgive the father of your child if he left and then came back?