How To Love by Katie Cotugno
How To Love
By: Katie Cotugno
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Rating: 4 stars
|Summary: 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.
Review: Okay, so this wasn’t the light, cute, fun read I was looking for, but wow, this book was pretty good. What a great story that realistically portrays a situation that happens all-too-often in a way that captures your heart.
The reason I liked this story so much was because it wasn’t about a girl in a rough or trashy neighborhood that got pregnant by the typical bad boy. Serena and Sawyer are from devout Christian families, and they deal with issues that real teens deal with – whether it’s Serena’s studious attempt to graduate a year early so she can leave town or Sawyer finding escape through music and other substances. Maybe Allie’s and Leo’s situations were a bit too much, but I think they were both necessary, especially the latter, to kind of make the story work.
And I really connected with Serena in this book. Yeah, she was a bit stand-offish at the beginning, but if I were a private person who had a friend like Allie, I would probably be that way too. Don’t get me wrong, Serena did come across as a bitch for a good portion of this book. But at the same time, she really does go through a lot, and I can’t imagine having to deal with the situations that she’s had to face – with Sawyer, with the baby, with her family’s change, with moving on. And she made her fair share of stupid actions, but you can’t help who you fall in love with sometimes, and really, I can’t see it ending up any other way for her.
The romance itself was realistically good. Serena and Sawyer both had their great moments, making them wonderful companions. At the same time, they had their fair share of arguments – over stupid things, over ridiculous things, over legitimate things, real issues that couples deal with all the time.
I wish I got to know Lydia more and why she decide not to be there for Serena, and what Roger’s problem was with Sawyer. And Cade was there, but not. I really love Soledad and Shelby (although I did feel that fact about her at the end just came from nowhere), and it was heartwarming to see Serena patch things up with Leo. And Aaron – it breaks my heart.
Overall, it was refreshing to read something that happens enough but does not get enough attention – but in such a way where you can actually connect with the characters. Props to Cotugno on her debut.