Review: How to Love by Katie Cotugno

July 6, 2016 Uncategorized 2 ★★½

I received this book for free from Gifted in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

How to LoveHow to Love by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer + Bray on October 1st 2013
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Gifted
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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.

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’ve been meaning to read this book for quite a long time and am so glad I finally got to it. The reviews seem to waver between either loving it or… not so much, with little in between and I hoped I’d fall into the ‘love it’ category. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

The story is told through alternating chapters of ‘Before’- which is basically the beginning of Reena and Sawyer’s relationship all the way up until he leaves her behind, and the ‘After’- when Sawyer finally shows up after being gone for two years and discovers he had left a pregnant Reena and now has a little girl. I absolutely loved the setup and the bare bones of the plot. I was very intrigued by this sort of angsty ‘love’ story and hoped to feel all the swoony longing of a new relationship to the heartbreak when it came to an end, the anger when he returns and perhaps a seed of hope of forgiveness and love again towards the end. And perhaps that’s exactly what those who loved this book did indeed find. But for me it was missing so much, mostly characters to root for.

I have no problem reading characters that are flawed but I need some sort of redeemable quality to surface before the novel ends. I kept hoping and hoping to find that here. I really wanted to love Reena and Sawyer, I truly did, but it just didn’t happen. Reena was kind of bland to me. And I disliked her a great deal in the ‘After’. She let Sawyer waltz back in entirely too easily, in my opinion. And that was evident from the first chapter. And Sawyer was far from swoony. He was constantly brushing off big issues and honestly didn’t seem to love Reena at all. I didn’t feel any real connection between them.

Though I loved the setup and I loved the back and forth chapters that really did hold my interest and kept me turning the pages, I almost wonder if we spent too long in the ‘Before’ because I don’t think the overall story was resolved enough by the end. I needed more. I’m disappointed when there was so much potential.


About Katie Cotugno

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.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

2 Responses to “Review: How to Love by Katie Cotugno”

  1. mariska

    Sad to hear you are disapointed with this story. I never read it but if you dont get to love the characters..the book isnt for you.
    Hope you read very soon a book where you fall in love with the characters right away.
    mariska recently posted…Fan girl momentMy Profile

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