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For fans of Sarah Dessen and John Green this is a breathtaking debut about a couple who fall in lovetwiceBefore Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember But he's never noticed that Reena even existsuntil one day impossibly he does Reena and Sawyer fall in messy complicated love Then Sawyer disappears without a word leaving a devastated—and pregnant—Reena behindAfter Almost three years have passed and there's a new love in Reena's life her daughter Reena's gotten used to life without Sawyer but just as suddenly as he disappeared he turns up again Reena wants nothing to do with him though she'd be lying if she said his being back wasn't stirring something in herAfter everything that's happened can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?

10 thoughts on “How to Love

  1. says:

    ohhhh this book has so much potential to be a real heartbreaker but sadly its just not uite up for the job its strength is not shying away from difficult topics that teens do have to deal with pressure to go to college pregnancy drugs underage drinking peer pressure etc uite often YA stories feature picturesue teens as they are a little easier to read about but this story is frustrating messy and real and i think it could have had a great impact if there was character developmentboth sawyer and reena feel shallow sawyer acts out and its never explained why reena is a teen mom but the baby is never talked about unless shes in the same place as reena i also have no idea what connects the two or why they even like each other if anything it seems like a very unhealthy relationship but thats because theres no depth to them beyond their stereotypes even though i was disappointed by the characters i did like the writing specifically the dialogue it feels very natural and flows well so its too bad that the story feels a little to big for itself↠ 3 stars

  2. says:

    I think a large part of whether this book works for you may rely on whether you find Sawyer LeGrande charming And I do not And while I'm prone to be pretty forgiving with girls who don't always make smart choices I was constantly frustrated with Reena too Make him work for it honey And it is NOT OKAY to repeatedly act in a way that is hurtful to other people particularly if you know what it's like to be hurt yourself I'm surprised at how negatively I feel about this one given the sea of 5 star reviews There were also a few moments conveniently timed for maximum drama which felt somewhat soapy Appreciated the way her relationship with her daughter was portrayed though as well as with Shelby and Soledad and her father Is the book well crafted? Mostly Realistic? Yes Personally enjoyable for me? Not really But many others have loved it so take my reaction with a grain of salt

  3. says:

    This book sucks big time It made me say the words “dumb” and “stupid” in several places and several times It made me shake my head so hard it felt like it was going to come off It broke my heart It made me shed tears and in the end it made me grin this goofy grin And that’s why it sucks because it made me feel all these emotions I wasn’t planning on feeling and in my vocabulary when a book does that to you it’s definitely goodI know you probably peg me for an angsty reader and you probably think that I should change my GR name into Aj the Angsty Reader but there is a limit to the level of angst I could take on If it’s too much you know I’d give up my principle and dnf it without second thought This debut novel however has just the exact amount of angst to make it realistic and plausible to make the reader empathize with the characters and their problematic situations I wouldn’t delve too much into the plot of the story because I’d like for you to go in the book blind and go with it as it flows One thing’s for sure though the writer has this easy way of luring you into her writing and into her characters making it hard for you to put down the book I read it in one day actually The narrative shifts between a “Before” and an “After” and I was eually hooked by both narratives Even though I disagree with a lot of the MC's actions and choices this is such an addictive and intriguing read and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough

  4. says:

    Warning this rant will contain spoilers for How to Love and some angry GIFs A very incoherent rant will be coming your wayThis was me when I finally got to buy this book since there was a sale at our local bookstoreBut then I realized something as the book went on The title of this book yeah it doesn't work At all Instead of How to Love I strongly believe this boos should be entitled How to Cheat and Be a Whiny Little GirlSee in both the before and after timelines Reena ends up cheating with SawyerCheating is a pretty timely issue that good books should be able to deal with but I completely hate it when it nobody tries to fix what they did wrong You people are technically adults in the after timeline and you have a kid At least try to be decent peopleReena Dammit this girl CANNOT do anything for herself She was a ditzy flat passive heroine and I wanted to shove her off a cliff Let's take this aspect for example Reena says she won't forgive Sawyer for leaving her and LO AND BEHOLD a few dinner invites later they're kissing and cheating on Reena's boyfriendReena was also a useless friend She lied to the people she called her best friends so often that you might even uestion your relationships with your friends afterwards I hated how horribly the aspect of friendship was played out here It was also unbelievable how easily her best friend forgave her for what she did I mean just imagine YOUR best friend cheating on YOUR big brotherAnd let's talk Sawyer See this guy is an ass None of his reasons for doing his stupid shit made any sense His character and his character's motives were in no way realistic The swoon worthy gentle hero I was hoping for was nowhere to be seen in this bookJust in case you were wondering this is what I did right after reading the book

  5. says:

    Nose Graze — Young Adult book reviewsHow to Love could have easily been a 4—or maybe even 5—star book but there was one massive problem Sawyer Sawyer literally stole those stars one by one POOF GONE He just chipped away at them every time he pulled a dickhead move that made me want to pummel his face in with rocks How to Love started out pretty strong for me I had kind of a morbid interest in it very similar to My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi Teenage pregnancy? I was curious I wanted all the details; I wanted to know exactly howwhenwhy it happened But FYI they never actually tell us how she got pregnant NEVER That's what I wanted to know We don't know when it happened or if they used a condom or not All we know is that she woke up with morning sickness one dayAt first I could really relate to Reena She was the girl who loved uiet summers playing card games and hanging out with her best friend But all around her people were moving on She lost her best friend to the drinking and partying scene I could totally relate Reena just wanted things to be the way they always were; she didn't want things to change She wasn't interested in partying or any of thatI wasn't shy exactly That's never what it was I just didn't know how to do this is all the clang and chatter of high schoolI had no friends in tenth grade Okay that's dramatic I had friends I didn't eat lunch alone on a toilet seat or anything Mostly I just didn't eat lunch I went to the libraryTHAT WAS ME I could totally relateBut everything went to the dogs as soon as Sawyer stepped on the sceneI feel like we were supposed to love Sawyer despite his faults He was supposed to be the bad boy in high school who made mistakes but then comes back and redeems himself But I felt like I never had a reason to like Sawyer or forgive him but I had so many reasons to hate him Sawyer was not a nice guy He was constantly drunk on drugs flirting with other girls and dragging Reena to parties Reena obviously hated parties but she went along with him And while he was out popping pills and getting drunk and hitting it up with other girls she was hiding out in the kitchen desperately wanting to go home EVERY TIMEWe'll just stop by for a minute he always said before we got there but in the end a minute usually took an hour or I didn't want to was the problem and so I sat on the counter in any number of kitchens drinking warm bear out of a red plastic cup and watching the minutes go by on the digital clock on the microwave hoping no one said anything to me as they moved through the room and wishing I was home watching reruns with Soledad Once I brought a book and hid in the pantry to read itBut you know what? She always gave in She always continued to go with him even if she really didn't want to and hid in pantries when she got there So I slowly started to lose sympathy for her How can I sympathize with a girl who puts herself through this crap? She could have told Sawyer she didn't want to go She could have dumped his pathetic druggie ass But no she didn't She complains and fights with him but she never breaks up with him WHY??? As far as I saw he had exactly zero redeeming ualities He never had nice or sweet moments He was always a royal jackassAnd when view spoilerReena got accepted into college hide spoiler

  6. says:

    35 starsIt's so hard for me to collect my thoughts about this book I nearly unhauled this and at this point I'm unable to determine if whether I should have or not I kept this because I've never read a book on teen pregnancy before and I really wanted to try this I fell in love with the writing of this book Katie Cotugno isn't necessarily the most brilliant writer but she makes such clever analogies and her sentences flow so well that I was really rather impressed And usually I hate now and then perspectives but I actually felt like the Before and After layout of this book was done really well and I was never bored with one chapter or the other These two factors by themselves combined with the fact that I was genuinely enjoying the storyline at first would have made it a five star book for me But very uickly I found myself really disliking Sawyer And he along with the negativity he brought into this book is really what brought it down for me He was a complete jerk and still expected to be loved which I didn't agree with There was so much angst too much angst in the relationship between Sawyer and Reena that I was so exasperated and wished she would just dump him for good Reena has a boyfriend in the After chapters and I hated how Sawyer came onto her even though he knew that she was in a relationship How he cruelly demanded that Reena tell him she loved him I just never understood him or his motives or his personality and since the book literally centers around their relationship I found myself growing detached Overall this book was just an experience I think it's really important because it handles the topic of teen pregnancy well So well that I was extremely uncomfortable reading this book at times Not because it was graphic but just because I was able to put myself in Reena's shoes for a moment and imagining myself in her situation was horrible This book made me feel so vulnerable and gross and I'm kind of impressed that it brought out that reaction in me Putting this down I seriously feel concerned about making meaningful relationships and being responsible within those relationships I can only imagine other teens reading this and feeling the same way; hopefully it touched someone to be able to see and understand how rough being a young mom is It certainly enlightened me about the topic and I'm left feeling grateful that I'm in a family of people who support me and that i'm single af and don't have to worry about Reena's situation happening to me

  7. says:

    Rating I am SO VERY CONFLICTED ABOUT THIS BOOK Honestly getting my thoughts in any kind of order seems to be impossible It's almost like I hated and loved this book in eual measure In the end I feel like the strengths of this book are so strong that they outweighed the negatives The first half of this book is sensational The second half made me mildly crabbyIn an effort to make my thoughts orderly I'm going to impose some order on this reviewI loved The writing How to Love is written in first person from Reena's POV and Reena is sharp and funny and observant It was really easy to slip into the story and feel everything she was feeling She's got a really great voice And the narrative techniue used was really interesting There were two story threads the Before when Reena is in high school and Sawyer LeGrande is there and the After two years later when Sawyer LeGrande returns I was surprised by how completely invested I was in the story reading it nearly straight thought Before tells the story of Reena and Sawyer falling in love and coming together while the After starts with Reena who has accepted her new life dealing with the fact that the prodigal Sawyer is back in her life The Before and After style created tiny mysteries that linked up really nicely with the present echoing the past in nicely heartbreaking waysI hated Sawyer Perhaps hate is a strong word He's got a couple of swoony moments loved Sawyer and Rina's talk on the swingset I totally got the Sawyer Swoon there and I kind of understood him as a character His parents expect a certain life out of him a life he doesn't want to lead He's not a bad guy really but he's utterly dysfunctional and I thought it was pretty criminal the way he dragged Reena into his dysfunctionality Sawyer is a couple of years older than Reena and is the child of Reena's parents closest friends They've grown up together and Reena's been in love with him since nearly the beginning Why beyond the fact that he's extraordinarily handsome I'm not completely sure Then Saywer starts dating Reena's best friend and for me the Sawyer appeal began to dissipate somewhatI loved Reena I totally got this girl She is the Good Catholic Daughter the high achiever the one nobody thought in a million years would get pregnant She plays it pretty close to the vest which is something I can relate to doing everything she can not to make her true feelings about things known Her family has been magnificently unfair to her but she loves her daughter Hannah with all her heart Before Hannah she wanted to be a travel writer and go to Northwestern and see the bigger world outside her small Florida town This book immerses us really well in Reena's mind showing us her true desires and feelings And because of all that I would have loved this book if it hadn't been for the next pointI hated Sawyer Reena It seemed like every single time Sayer and Reena interacted he did something to hurt her My particular favorite Sawyer moment was the first time they slept together not a spoiler they have a child which happened to be the first time Reena had ever slept with anybody and then Sawyer didn't call her Or see her For like three months And then never apologized He had other issues goes on I got that but I never thought Sawyer reached the right level of contrition for all the enormous harm he'd done to Reena not just the pregancy thing Admittedly he didn't know Reena was pregnant when he took off but he still took off There's the time Sawyer pressures her to skip school To betray her best friend Let's not even mention what he does the night Reena gets into collegeI mean I was basically rooting for girlfriend toAll of the really bad stuff is Before Sawyer And Before Sawyer is not a healthy Sawyer After Sawyer is way swoonier and way put together and I could have worked with this I MUCH PREFERRED After Sawyer I almost really really liked him But again he didn't seem sorry enough He just kind of waltzed back into town and was all offended that Reena was so mad at him And I just wanted to scream YOU ARE LUCKY YOU STILL HAVE ALL YOUR TOES BUDDY BE GRATEFUL FOR THATBlegh I'm sorry guys I just didn't feel this romance Shelby Reena's awesomesauce best friend said it best that self sufficient Reena forgets how bad ass she is whenever Sayer who done her wrong turns his big emerald eyes on her BLEGHI loved Everything else The narrative techniue the way Cotugno portrayed family dynamics and the particular family dynamics of a high achieving Catholic teenager getting pregnant at sixteen Extra points for a loving stepmother minus points for a mostly invisible brother a bajillion points for Shelby the awesome if judgmental lesbian best friend who tries to tell Reena to GET A GRIP I loved the scene where Reena finally lets out all the feelings she's been keeping inside since she got pregnant basically letting her father and Sawyer's parents have it now if only she'd done this to Sawyer tooMost people are really going to love this book It has a lot going for it and I will definitely read whatever Cotugno writes next I truly loved her writing But when you read a love story and can't truly invest in well the love story part there's no way you can give that book all the stars I'm pretty bummed about it With a few tweaks this could have been one of my favorite reads of the year I was totally engrossed in it and the characters were vivid and it was eual parts funny and heartbreaking even a tad melodramatic I recommend giving it a shot if only so we can have conversations about stomping on Sawyer LeGrande's feet

  8. says:

    Teens making out against a wall Character makes joke about terrorists Then asks another character are you one of those people who are really sensitive about terrorist jokes? The scene was pretty much left at that I tried to continue but I'll cool it w books w privileged characters that make offhand remarks about terrorism with not a smidgen of recourse either directly or indirectly Hard passEdit I read a tiny bit and it doesn't seem as though this character is made out to be villainous ignorant or unaware The person she was talking to was our protagonist who I believe is written to be sympathetic and the remark was a device to amplify the protagonist's sensitivity to seeing the characters making out which I believe makes it even harmfulEdit again Finished this so people wouldn’t come at me for not finishing it when I include it in a list in an upcoming video Wasn’t worth it

  9. says:

    I did not expect to like this book as much as I did It was gripping and adorable The characters were definitely very flawed but I still enjoyed it none the less

  10. says:

    REACTION AFTER READING THE BOOK The end made me so damn happy for Reena and SawyerThis book was not perfect It has some shortcomings but personally I thought this book was great I think it dealt with the topic of teenage pregnancy realistically I should know because I have been in that situation I have been Reena at some point in my life and I could definitely say that most of the situations Reena went through in this book was accurate I've read a couple of negative reviews about this book and they were complaining about Sawyer being a douchebag And I agree he is a douchebag But that's the entire point of the Before and After POVs from Reena You get to see the what happened and the why he left and also the how different is he nowBut I'm not going to elaborate on that now Let's start with the gist first HOW IT STARTS I've been looking for Sawyer for half a lifetime when I find him standing in front of the Slurpee machine at the 7 Eleven on Federal Highway gazing through the window at the frozen neon bright churning like he's expecting the mysteries of the universe to be revealed to him from inside THE GIST Reena and Sawyer practically grew up together Their families are basically one family because of a joint business their parents have Reena always liked Sawyer but she has always been too scared to act on those feelings So she just let it goReena had a bright future ahead of her She was smart and very studious She was taking advanced classes and is actually about to graduate earlier than she should be But what she wasn't expecting was being with Sawyer And being with Sawyer was not what she expected It was good for the most part but there were other things that she did not know about Sawyer that she had to accept because she likes himSo the thing happened You guys know what I mean Right? Yeah so it happened and well she got pregnant at 16And SawyerHe left Without saying a word MEET THE CHARACTERS Reena Serena or Reena is a great character She made some mistakes but that's all part of life isn't it? And that's what made this book great The characters were flawed and imperfect You don't go into a teenage pregnancy book and think that the main character is a Mary Sue No that does not happen These kids obviously did something stupid and immature hence why this is a teenage pregnancy book and not just your typical romance bookI read a few reviews saying that she was well immature and all that stuff She's not She's actually mature and independent than I was when I got pregnant I got pregnant when I was eighteen and a mom at 19 I was an adult But to be honest she handled things pretty well on her own than I did I was a mess I was crap I was useless And that's the reality of being a teenage mom There were times that she made crappy decisions like with Aaron but give her a break People makes mistakes not just people who got pregnant early whose baby daddy comes back and now they don't know what to do That also happens to people who doesn't have kids Let's not be too judgementalAlthough there are a lot of things that happened to Reena that didn't happen to me I still connected to her in a deeper level than I was ready for I cried especially on the confrontation scene with her Dad That was just me It was like that was me And it did happen to me too so I guess that's why that made me crySawyerNow this dude is a dick I agree He had some stupid decisions He's done stuff he shouldn't have He treated Reena like crap on some occasions But he is not a bad person On the before POVs that is If you've read the after POVs closely you'll get why he left I actually like the transitions of the Before and After POVs because it explains what is happening in the present And it totally made sense for him to leave Do you guys want to know what type of guy is real douchebag? THE ONE WHO LEAVES DOESN'T SAY GOODBYE AND DOESN'T RETURN OR THE ONE WHO KNOWS YOU GOT PREGNANT BUT LEAVES ANYWAYS WITHOUT EVEN A CARE And Sawyer wasn't either of those He left that's true but he had a very valid reason I should know I like Sawyer I really do He's just one of those kids who is so pressured into doing everything right that he is intentionally doing things wrong I could relate to that too Although I don't do drugs and all that crappy crap but the pressure of doing what your expected to do is pretty heavy especially when you as a person would like to do something else And that is what Sawyer's burden wasAlso people change And I liked seeing that with Sawyer's character You'll see the contrast of who he was then and who he was currently I thought his character was pretty well playedThe ParentsI felt that Katie also made it a point to include the conflic these two had with their parents and I really liked that I would have to say that both of their parents were crap but happy that Reena's father at least was able to redeem themselves THE ROMANCE It was very well played for me I felt that it was not perfect but it was good Reena and Sawyer obviously really liked each other There were just some situations that stood in the way which prevented them from being together earlier and letting Allie Reena's no good friend having Sawyer firstBut I don't want to talk about that I want to emphasize on the fact that they were responsible people that has feelings If Sawyer knew I think he wouldn't have left I honestly don't understand how people could think that just because someone hurts you you can shut down all your feelings for that person You can't Especially not when you share something as important as a kid You can hate himher at some point but at the end of the day you shared something special with that person and you can't hate them forever And Reena did not forget that She made it so clear to Sawyer that she was not okay with him being back a couple of times You can't just come here after all this time and try to joke around with me and act like nother happened That's not Stuff happene Sawyer You can't just be back And it was hard for Reena You'll see her struggle about her conflicted feelings Aaron was easy and Sawyer was complicated She could just stay with Aaron but will that make her completely happy? Will it be okay for her to stay on the safe side and not risk the chance of her having a complete family and be happy? Will you? And Sawyer I think I'm going to spoil you guys a bit didn't know Reena was pregnant okay? He didn't fucking know My douchebag of an ex bf did know And you know what? He left anyways That's my basis of douchebaggery So forgive me if I don't think Sawyer is a big douchebag He is far from it He's just a person who made lots of crazy mistakes that he is currently trying to ammendSo do I think Sawyer and Reena should be together? Yes Why? Well because they didn't split up because they wanted to anyways They still had feelings for each other so there's really no reason why they couldn't work that out to have a complete family with their baby Hannah FINAL THOUGHTS I loved this book so much and happy that I read it first It is not for everyone I get it but luckily it was for me I get all those things that happened to Reena and I think that's why I loved it than I should have This book was about love mistakes and making up for those mistakes It's about forgiveness Trust Family There were a lot of good points on this book that really touched me The characters all had their own struggles and demons to face How to love is not only about loving a significant other It's about loving your parents your daughter your friend And I totally loved that So much love It reminded me of If I Stay by Gale Forman in some ways because of the different types of love that was shown in this book I thought the plot twists were just placed at the right timesThis book made me real emotional Emotional in a way that was good I liked reading about people owning up to their mistakes and correcting their paths Reena may have not been in the college of her choice but at least she is still making something out of her life And that goes with Sawyer too That's why he came back Fresh start And I think everyone deserves that