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.
I'm going to keep this one short because I really have nothing much to say about HOW TO LOVE except that I really struggled to finish this book. There was just too much back and forth. I didn't really appreciate how the flashbacks were interspersed with Reena's life "AFTER".
The characters did not appeal much to me either. They're all angsty bordering on annoying. I kind of hated Reena for stringing her boyfriend along and then dumping him when Sawyer turned up. Sawyer just exudes the general douchebagginess and I couldn't get over that fact.
I also thought their relationship seemed to forced. When Sawyer came back, it was evident that Reena had some lingering (and very real) feelings for him. But even with all the confrontations, I don't think anything was ever resolved between the two of them. Nope, not much conflict resolution all. Another thing: I think it could have been better if the story delved into Reena's relationship with Hannah a bit more.
But there are some things that I liked about HOW TO LOVE, as well. The whole Allie plot device was interesting and I liked how that added to the complexity of Reena's character (no matter how annoying I found her). There's also something good to be said about Reena's strained relationship with her father. Her pregnancy sure damaged whatever relationship she had with her father and I ached for her in that sense. I really am impressed with Katie Cotugno's writing, though. She was able to capture the character's emotions and I felt Reena's fear about Sawyer's reapperance in her life, not to mention their daughter's life; her desperation to earn her father's approval; her struggle to fit in a town that seemed to judge her no matter what she does.
Even though I did not care much for the story, I still liked Katie Cotugno's writing. She's a pretty good writer and I'm still interested in reading her other books.
All in all, HOW TO LOVE is an okay read but it's not one that I would take the time to read all over again.