28 April 2014

How to Love by Katie Cotugno

How to Love by Katie Cotugno
Series: No
Publisher: Quercus
Publication Date: October 3rd 2013
Source: Bought

This is a love story. But it’s not what you think. This is not a first kiss, or a first date. This is not love at first sight. This is a boy and a girl falling in messy, unpredictable, thrilling love. This is the complicated route to happiness that follows.

This is real. This is life. This is how to love.

BEFORE: Reena has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember. But he’s never noticed her, until one day… he does. They fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town, leaving a devastated – and pregnant – Reena behind.

AFTER: Three years later and there’s a new love in Reena’s life: her daughter Hannah. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again.

After everything that’s happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer again?

I buddy read this one with Brittany from This is the Story of My Reading Life. We'd originally planned to read it in March - but we couldn't fit it in - so we bumped it onto our April TBR's because we really wanted to read it. Glad we managed to fit it in in April because I really enjoyed it.

The main thing I loved was that this wasn't a perfect, straight-forward love story and that both characters had major flaws. Reena and Sawyer were together; Sawyer had major problems; Reena got sick of it; Sawyer left; Reena found out she was pregnant; Had her baby and then 3 years later... Sawyer returns.

The story was told in two different timelines: Before & After. Before: The story of how Reena & Sawyer's relationship started. After: 3 years after they got together and all the events after Sawyer's return.

Reen is a socially-awkward character who prefers her own company. She has a major weakness when it comes to Sawyer. She comes from a Catholic family and they looked down on her when she became pregnant. She's kind of a shitty friend, but she has dealt with a lot of shit so sometimes I could excuse her. But I did have a love/hate relationship with Reena.

I had a like/hate relationship with Sawyer. I hated before Sawyer. He was such a dick and I wanted to punch him in the face so many times. I did feel bad because he was going through his own shit, but I hate that he dragged Reena with him. He treated Reena like shit before. After, he wasn't much better to start with. He waltzed back in like nothing had changed and was acting like the same jackass from before. But Sawyer grew a lot when he came back and by the end, I did like him.

Shelby is Reena's BFF. She tells it like it is and she's always trying to talk sense into Reena. She's hilarious and had me laughing out loud quite a lot. She's a great friend to Reena even though Reena doesn't always return the favour.

When it comes to the romance, the blurb tells it like it is: It's a mess. Reena and Sawyer went through a ton of shit before which would make you think they'd never in a million years try it again. But those two had a connection right from the word go. Reena had been hiding her feeling for Sawyer and Sawyer never knew about her feelings, but he liked her. Before Reena and Sawyer were a train-wreck. After Reena and Sawyer had a chance. I loved getting to see the Before relationship and the After relationship and understand why Reena had her hang-ups. It was real, and I think that's why I ended up rooting for the two of them.

Nothing in this story was perfect, and that's why I loved it so much. Neither Reena nor Sawyer are perfect. They both have major flaws and have made a lot of mistakes in the past and in the present. They're still learning and growing. Reena and Sawyer's families weren't perfect either. I hated Reena's dad for the way he was freezing out her and being such a dick, but I also understood his side. Sawyer's parents seemed determined to put on this perfect front and try to make it look like they hadn't been treating Reena like shit. 

By the end I was rooting for Reena and Sawyer and I finished the book with a massive grin on my face. The ending gave me hope that they'll be able to be a proper family and that everything will work out.

Overall, I really loved How to Love. It was messy, heartbreaking, the characters were imperfect, but it just felt real and that's why I loved it. 

Make sure to look out for Brittany's review because she had a few different thoughts about the book from me and I'm excited to read her review!


  1. Yay! I really loved this story. I think you're totally right. When I first read it, I had a major problem with Sawyer, even though, I kind of loved him, but then I realized that it was both of their faults – Reena's and Sawyer's. What I love about this book is that everyone is just so freaking complicated. They have their good sides but they have their bad sides and I loved it.

    1. That's the main reason I loved it so much. I loved that they were both flawed, it made it more real and a lot more emotional. Yes! That's exactly how I felt :)

  2. Sounds like this is a great contemporary, but I'm not sure I can read it right now... not with my emotional state right now.
    Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Great review, Samantha!

  3. I have this on the TBR and it looks so good. I did not relaize that it was on two timelines. I thought it just followed two people over a certain time period.

    I am really in to flawed characters at the minute. it is so annoying when they are perfect and have everything. This set seems to have some human in them!

    I am glad you liked this so much. I might have to bump it on this month's TBR too ;D

    Thanks for sharing & great review! :)

    Alex @ The Shelf Diaries

    1. ps! I love the cover at on this. It is gorgeous! xxx

  4. Messy and heartbreaking is right. I love Hannah. She is adorable

  5. Now that I finally posted my review, I'm here to talk. :)
    Imperfect characters is perfectly correct. And that's definitely what kept this book realistic. If everything had been easy for Reena upon finding out she was pregnant than this book would have gotten 0* from me.
    It was just so hard to like Reena when she's lying and treating Shelby and her brother(I can't remember his name for the life of me) like shit. I never got the feeling that she felt remorse for just totally blowing this great guy off with no explanation. Sure, he probably wasn't right for her. But c'mon, at least handle the break-up and everything nice and mature. As you can see, that part really pissed me off. Lol.
    I think how much a reader will like this book will depend on how charming they find Sawyer. And unfortunately for me, there was just not one single part in the book where I liked him. Okay, I lie. I was really impressed with how he handled Hannah.
    And as I think I said to you, I really wish that ending had been a little different. I was really hoping she would take the time to discover herself before letting Sawyer tag along. :P
    But I totally see why you were rooting for them. You wanted that HEA for them. Reena deserved it. Even if it was with Sawyer. Lol!
    Great review! I'm so happy we picked this one. I love seeing your different opinions and the whys. Fantastic! :D