Review: How To Love by Katie Cotugno

How to Love Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: October 1, 2013 by Balzer + Bray
Length: 389 pages
Source: Balzer + Bray (ARC)

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?


As a young adult contemporary LOVER, How To Love was a bit of a disappointment for me. First off, I did not like how it was written as a ‘before’ then the next chapter was ‘after’ then ‘before’ and you get the point. It was confusing and I often mixed the plot of the past and present which was disturbing. What I also did not like is there was only little character development (except for Reena). I hated Sawyer’s character. Period. I still don’t feel like he was sorry for what he did, and I especially hated the scenes where he tries to act all cute because he was NOT cute AT ALL. Like, can you stop? You ain’t cute, bro. I really like Reena’s character. I think she’s the one who changed the most in this novel. She was also somewhat believable and realistic.

What I liked about How To Love is that the story is very realistic. For sure this has happened to some people, and I admire how strong they are (both fiction and the real people). Overall, it was an okay read. It wasn’t a bad book; I think it could have been better. I’m a bit sad that I didn’t love this book as much as the others who were raving about it. I say that it’s not one of the best contemporary books out there, but I still recommend it if you are looking for a book that involves friendship, romance, family and forgiveness.

3 of 5

8 Responses to “Review: How To Love by Katie Cotugno”

  1. 1 Nara November 30, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    While I didn’t think that the before/after thing was too confusing, I definitely agree with the rest of your review. SAWYER WAS SUCH A TERRIBLE CHARACTER. I really think how you view the book depends much on how you view Sawyer as a character. I just really disliked him. And therefore disliked the book.

  2. 3 Jeann @ Happy Indulgence November 30, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    I like how this book interchanges the perspective but yeah, sounds like it wasn’t for you. I like how it’s realistic as well but Sawyer sounds like a huge pain! Thanks for your review Leigh.

  3. 4 Hazel @ Stay Bookish December 1, 2013 at 8:29 AM

    Well, I’m one of the few that really loved this! I’m just glad you didn’t think it was terrible! I do understand your sentiments, especially about how dislikable Sawyer was. He was really frustrating for me too and that’s why I really connected with Reena and her confusion whenever Sawyer was around. I just loved the realism and the complication of it all! I’m weird, I know haha!

  4. 5 Hazel @ Stay Bookish December 1, 2013 at 8:30 AM

    Btw I’m terrible for only noticing now but I loveeee the new look! ❤

  5. 6 Nicole December 1, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    This book has definitely generated some mixed feelings. I loved this book because of how realistic it was. I get why people didn’t like Sawyer though. I wouldn’t exactly say I liked him, but I didn’t think of him as an individual. I was only focused on Reena and Sawyer as a unit and I liked how it was a message that love doesn’t always make sense, especially from the outside.

    When chapters flip between time periods I often get confused myself. More so in the beginning, so I definitely warmed to it. I did like how it came together in the end though!

    Nicole @ The Quiet Concert

  6. 7 hopelessromantics10 December 2, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not to read this book. I’m still not sure and I think I would also find the before and after chapters confusing too :/ Maybe if I happen to see it at my library I’ll consider picking it up. Thanks for the review =)

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Well hello there! Thank you so much for stopping by. Little Book Star is a young adult book blog ran by Leigh, an 18 year old avid reader. This blog consists of book reviews, giveaways, author interviews, and more! Feel free to explore!

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