How to Love by Katie Cotungo


This was the most confusing book I've read in a long time. I've bounced back and forth between giving it two or five stars! My emotions have been all over the place. But in the end, I really enjoyed this infuriating, mystifying novel.

Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember, but she's done all she could to never let it show. But she's never even been on his radar. Until one day, impossibly, he notices her. They fall for each other, fully and complicatedly--even when it seems as if the world and their parents are against them. But then Sawyer disappears without a trace, leaving--unbeknownst to him--a pregnant Reena behind.

Almost three years later, Reena fine without Sawyer, raising her daughter Hannah on her own, and getting used to a life that she never planned for herself. And then suddenly, Sawyer is back, feeling and acting and looking better than ever. Reena doesn't want anything to do with him; three years of anger and pain has made her rightfully bitter about him. But having Sawyer near again has her questioning the way her life has turned out, the good and the bad. After everything that's happened, does Reena want to fall for the new Sawyer LeGrande, and risk the hurt when he could leave again?

This book was a mess--in the best possible way. It was amusing and captivating, but also ridiculous and infuriating. It balanced the "what the hell?!" with the "I love this!" It was quite peculiar. But, even though I really enjoyed this novel, it had some faults. And most of them came from the plot. There were two big moments in that occurred in the novel, that coincided with terrible events. Sawyer and Reena kiss for the first time, and her best friend and Sawyer's girlfriend, is killed in a car accident. Then, 150 pages later, Reena finally confronts her family about treating her terribly since she got pregnant, and her father has a heart-attack. Life doesn't happen like that! I understand that fiction is allowed to be, ya know, fictional, but these coincidences are too much to believe. The tragic events I didn't mind, but the idea that they happened milliseconds after something good happened, was ridiculous and unfeasible.

I really loved Reena. She was by far the best character. She was smart and quiet and true to herself. She had a plan, and she wanted to stick to it and achieve her dreams; and even when life kind of blew up in her face and all of her dreams were cast aside, she took it in stride and didn't fall apart. She was strong. Sawyer, on the other hand, I had some issues with. I literally hated his guts in the "Before" chapters, and loved him to pieces in the "After" chapters. I was mercurial when it came to him. He was such a douche before, with the drugs and the slightly inconsiderate personality. But in the end, I really loved his character development, and I absolutely commend him for turning his life around, and I forgive him for leaving too. He should have told everyone he was leaving, but he didn't know Reena was pregnant, so it's hard to blame him too much for that aspect.

Their relationship was such a train wreck. It was a soap opera that I hated myself for watching, but I was too addicted to stop. It was romantic and terrible, funny and heartbreaking. I loved watching it rise and fall, but it wasn't a relationship that I really swooned over. I definitely wouldn't have wanted to experience it myself. But it felt like an accurate portrayal of two characters in a situation like theirs. It was pretty believable.

The writing was pretty good. It wasn't overly wordy or beautiful. It was on the point and fluid. Katie Cotungo is all about weird, complicated relationships, and I eat her stories up.

In the end, I really liked this novel. But I liked 99 Days more.

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