ARC Review of “How To Love” by Katie Cotugno – a lesson on real life love

How to Love

Book: “How to Love”

Author” Katie Cotugno

Publish Date: October 1, 2013

How I Got the Book: From a Blog tour Site – Around the World ARC Tours

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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.

What I thought:

For starters I got the book and realized it was very long, but after the first chapter – it had me at Chapter one.. I liked the way the author went back and forth between before and now – so you could build the story in your head in a full way – without making full judgement of any character before you gave them a chance. I think had all the before scences come first it would have been WAY harder for me to like Sawyer at all – but the way she built the story and the narration was great. Maybe I read too many books now, but I really take notice of these type of things and I appreciate when someone does something different. I do wish we had heard more from Sawyer’s side, but in the end it was Rena’s story that needed to be heard – well her and Hannah’s story.

I started out thinking this would be another cute/love story in the contemporary YA world, but I was amazingly proved wrong. It was deep, real, and emotional. I felt the heart break Reena felt and the loss when Sawyer left – and the heartache and loss when she learned she was pregnant – and then the pure joy of her beautiful little girl. The book had it all. If you are looking forward to anything in October, i hope this is one of the top picks. The story covered series emotional situations – teen pregnancy, teen parenting, addiction, abandonment – troubled family relationships, and just plain fear. It’s certainly not a fairy tale teen pregnancy story, it’s real and gritty and heart breaking.

The theme I got over and over again was about love, the fact that real love is not easy by any means  – that it takes work but when you work for it, it’s one of the best parts of this world. I have gone through some difficult times in my own life, and my own love has been tested to the very limits during some of these times, and I thought this book really did justice to the real life love it takes to survive in this world. It showed a “true” love can overcome any obstacle – it really reminded me of “the Notebook” and the end where Noah and Ally believe their love can do anything – nothing worth having is ever easy – that is my two cents anyway… for what it’s worth.

Now On To The Characters:

Reena is a strong young woman. When she realizes she’s pregnant and goes to see Sawyer and walks home to face the music alone, her bravery and character astound me – for her age it’s hard to imagine having to go through that and what a tough girl. Tosss in some huge loss in her life and she is really tested beyond belief yet she keeps moving forward – making the best of what she has. She has regrets sure, but who doesn’t. Even with Sawyer, when he appears again – she is so afraid to love him and for good reason – but she doesn’t give up. Yes, she fights it, but I think after everything that went down she deerved to be fought for to some extent.

Sawyer – well from the first pages he was hot, laid back – the cool guy everyone thought they wanted to date in highschool. I like that it showed all of his sides, not just his good side – and it showed that no one is perfect. I wanted to like him, but it took me even a good part of the book to see what his purpose was when he was back in town and to allow myself to give him a chance – I have to say I was rooting for him by the end…

Shelby – Loved her. I loved her real friendship with Reena which is just what she needed. Despite her being in college and away from home she was still there for Reena and supported her no matter what – which is just what she needed. She also added fun and laughter to somme of the most difficult parts of the story.

The parents – The relationship I felt the most for was for Reena and her Dad – in the end I had tears as they had their last conversation, how much she taught him and how far they came – I don’t want to ruin any plots here, but it’s worth the read  juswt to see this touching scene…

So Enough Blabbing on – What’s My Take Away Here?

5/5 Stars for sure!

The book had true emotion. My heart broke, mended, and grew all in one story. I loved the characters and disliked them strongly at different times. Combine that with the beautiful writing and it’s a classic for sure. The way Katie wrote the story really made all the difference, to me she let you see what you needed to and when – and not before or it may have changed your opinion of the characters – I think it let you get to know the characters in an unbyassed way as possible. This book is just so hard to review because it reallly exceeded everything I thought I would get from it. I thought this would be another YA teen pregnancy story – but boy was I wrong. I learned things about living and taking life as it comes from this strong young character – and seeing real love in action warmed my heart. It’s so easy to love when everything is perfect, so easy to feel like that anyway – but it’s not easy to realize that you have to work for what you want. All that happened here, Sawyer had to work for his family, and seeing someone seeing someone his age to that – made my heart warm.  It was just a wonerfully redeeming story.

In the end it was real, not what you expected. It had hard moments, moments that brought tears to my eyes for the shear heart break – but it also had moments that made me so happy I shed tears then too. It really had it all. In the end, I was left feeling whole – like the world was left as it shouold be and I hope you will feel this same way when you are done.  It’s one of the best “real life” love stories I’ve read in some time.  The characters had a love that won out against everything life threw at them – and that even taught them how to love again and feel what had been there all along.

In closing, I hope you get this book, it’s an absolute worthwhile read — so remember October 1st or better  yet pre-order now. Then tell me what you think! If you’ve had a chance to read and review, love your comments here too —

I will admit I’m missing my famous quote section here this time and I hate that because this book had some great ones, but when it’s “offiially” released i am already planning to go back and get some to amend this slight to all of you guys, so keep posted!

Happy early Friday Everyone and Happy reading!

Kelley

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One response to “ARC Review of “How To Love” by Katie Cotugno – a lesson on real life love

  1. Pingback: How to Love by Katie Cotugno | Around The World ARC Tours

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