Personal Thoughts: So, Katie Cotugno is officially an auto-buy author for me. The funny thing is, I fell in love with her writing style before ever reading either of her currently published books. I used to so look forward to Katie’s Friday blog posts about 5 good things and I’m sad she hasn’t been keeping up with them (although she is posting much more on twitter which is a plus!). I read her sophomore novel, 99 Days in the latter half of 2016 and it was everything I wanted it to be and more. I had been putting off reading How to Love because I’m not usually interested in pregnancy stories but boy am I glad that I trusted my gut and in my love of Katie’s ability to make me love anything.
Plot Summary: How to Love is the story of Reena and Sawyer since he skipped town and she had his baby. Reena adjusts to her new life with baby Hannah and the fact that she’ll never go to college and she’ll be stuck in her small Florida hometown forever while Sawyer travels around doing whatever he pleases. Everything has become routine for Reena until one day, Sawyer resurfaces and declares that he’s there to stay. Now she has to sort through her feelings both past and present to determine her future.
Critique: All I can say upon finishing is that my emotions are shredded to pieces. Katie Cotugno crafted one of the messiest, most complicated contemporary love stories I’ve ever read and I have such strong feelings about these characters! Reena is a very relatable teen. She’s intelligent, she always does “the right thing” and she has a bright future ahead of her. I really love the way in which the story was told. Each chapter shifted from present day to the past during the time of she and Sawyer’s initial story. I loved the juxtaposition of the narratives and the way each scene was relevant to one another. I found Reena’s anger to be justified and as the story unfolded, I slowly found myself falling more and more in love with Sawyer from the way he treats Reena in the present to how good he is with their child. Both parties have made major mistakes in their time together and this is by no means a cute and fluffy story. It’s complicated with a capital C. I also loved the presence of family and the way religion affected Reena’s dynamic with her father. Overall, I just love love loved this book. As I neared the end I even tried to slow down my reading because I wasn’t ready for it to be over yet.