Tuesday, 8 October 2013

How To Love


How To Love by Katie Cotugno
Hardback, 400 pages

Published 3rd October by Quercus

Shelves: arc-or-review, books-i-own, title-appeal, realistic-fiction, read-in-2013, new-adult, lasting-impression, cover-appeal, contemporary, better-than-expected
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

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?


How to Love was a book that I immediately wanted to pick up as soon as it came through my door - I loved the bright cover, the intriguing title and the fact that it was a contemporary new adult book, something that I always want to read more of. I literally couldn't wait to start this and so I opened it up and read - it didn't take me long at all to become hooked!

How To Love was one of those books that I knew that I would enjoy after only a couple of chapters. The writing felt very natural, the story seemed both effortlessly but fantastically written. Though this is a debut novel, it is clear that the author has a true talent. I felt completely at ease when reading and it was so easy to get a real sense of the setting and the characters. Reena, especially, felt more like a real friend rather than a fictional character. Though it was so easy to get absorbed into this book, it was also often interesting to sit back and try and look at the big picture, looking and seeing how different people are affected by different things, and how things may not always be how they are perceived. 

This book revolves around Reena and Sawyer, two people who have a difficult past. Firstly, we're introduced to Reena and her young daughter, Hannah who are living in their hometown with Aaron, her boyfriend, and nearby to Reena's religious father and step-mother. Sawyer hasn't been in the neighbourhood for a long time, but  now he is back and he's seeking out both Reena and Hannah, his daughter. Reena is not how she used to be, and Sawyer is not how he used to be either - it's very easy to see the changes, however subtle, that their separation and independence has made. Cotugno manages to switch between past and present, before and after Sawyer's disappearance, in a very readable way - sometimes it can be difficult and feel 'jumpy' to move between different times, but the changes flowed very well and really made the book what it is - captivating.

This book is so captivating because despite it being very easy to read, it is very complex and also very realistic. The realism of this book is admirable, it is so easy to imagine the characters acting out their movements, reacting to each others behaviour. Cotugno really got into my mind with this story and got me thinking, how would I have reacted in the position of Reena? Would I have done anything differently? The complexity lies within this novel in many ways. There are so many different and very genuine issues that one would have to consider in the position of either Reena or Sawyer. I thought that Reena was an incredible character - she was strong and she always seemed to try her best, she fought to hold her own and do what was best for her daughter under difficult circumstances. I also liked Sawyer - I wasn't all that taken by 'before' Sawyer, but he really did seem to grow during his time away and the apparent changes are both admirable and loveable. Despite all of Sawyer's problems and his (what initially seems like) quite poor action of leaving, we get to learn a lot about him as the book progresses and by the end, I had absolutely fallen for him and I was willing Reena to take a risk and be with him!

Overall, this is a book that is rather difficult to review as to really appreciate it, you need to pick it up and connect with the story and the characters yourself. I think this would be a great book for any young adults or adults wondering whether or not to venture into this new new adult category of books - I can definitely see both age groups being able to appreciate this one. Cotugno is an absolutely incredible writer, destined to be a favourite. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next! 

1 comment:

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