How To Love by Katie Cotugno: Book Review

Title: How To Love
Author: Katie Cotugno
Published: October 1st 2013 by Balzer + Bray (first published Jan. 1st 2013)
Copy: Paperback [Purchased at National Bookstore]

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.

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.

When National Bookstore featured this book on their Facebook Page, I was really intrigued by the synopsis. So intrigued that though I was in a book buying ban because of my board exam, I headed to National Bookstore one lunch break and bought this book. I didn't read it though until after the board exam results were posted. Haha!

I've never read anything like this one before so it was an enjoyable reading experience for me and in a way, refreshing.

Written using two time frames- Before and After, How To Love gave me wider view of the characters, especially their development and how they dealt with the things that happened. This made my reading easier too since I don't have to invest too much effort analyzing each character.

This book made me feel different sorts of emotions because while I've never been in Reena's shoes, her character is easily relatable. From the first few Before chapters, I saw how she works hard to get out of her present life. Reena is this simple, introvert girl with plans and dreams for her future. I guess one of the reasons why I was able to relate well is because I have plans too, and personally, it scares me to have the opportunities just pass by because of one action. One thing I couldn't understand though was how a man can make someone irrational. I know love and emotions are irrational, but it doesn't have to affect everything. Does it?

Anyway, How To Love reminded me that no one can best decide for our own lives but ourselves. Yes, poor choices are inevitable. But those mistakes cannot define a person. And while it's okay to commit mistakes, what we do after will have bigger impact. I liked how Reena bounced back after Sawyer left. It might have been a slow process and she might have yielded when Sawyer came back, but I liked how she fights to be stronger, how she is taking her baby steps toward reconciliation and giving life another try.

How to Love is a story of second chances- for our family, for that special someone, and chances for ourselves. Nobody is perfect. Living requires mistakes but it is an active choice whether to relive those mistakes or be a better person.

How to Love is a cute, inspiring read. I totally recommend this book! Also, I cannot wait to read Katie's second book, 99 Days, which will be released on April 21, 2015!

Source: Goodreads

Katie Cotugno went to Catholic school for thirteen years which makes her, as an adult, both extremely superstitious and prone to crushes on boys wearing blazers. She routinely finds herself talking about the romantic endeavors of characters on TV shows as if they actually exist in the world.

Katie is a Pushcart Prize nominee whose work has appeared in The Broadkill Review, The Apalachee Review, and Argestes, as well as on Her first novel, HOW TO LOVE, is due out from Balzer + Bray on October 1st, 2013.

The great loves of Katie's life include child's pose, her little sister, and mozzarella and honey sandwiches. She lives in Boston with her boyfriend, Tom (Source: Goodreads).