Wednesday, December 18, 2013

How to Love by Katie Cotugno

Reena Montero has spent countless moments obsessing over bad boy Sawyer LeGrande, dreaming about the day he would finally notice her as something more than a close family friend. When Sawyer finally makes his move the result is explosive. The two quickly form an intense and complicated bond. Reena makes Sawyer the center of her universe, tossing her goals for the future aside.  Six months after the start of their rocky relationship, Sawyer disappears without a trace, leaving Reena to pick up the pieces.  Worse still Reena discovers she is pregnant only after Sawyer has vanished.

Fast forward three years.  Sawyer unexpectedly arrives back in town determined to work his way back into Reena's life and her heart.  Reena however has long since moved on, accepting that she will never have the life she once dreamed of.  She now spends her days working and taking classes at the local community college, that is when she is not busy being a mother to her two year old daughter Hannah.  Reena also has a new love interest, Aaron, who is devoted to both her and Hannah.  Reena convinces herself that she is doing the mature thing by giving Sawyer the chance to get to know his child, yet part of Reena can't help noticing how being around Sawyer seems to bring up feelings she thought she buried long ago.   Will she ever be able to get over her first love?

How to Love unfolds in chapters that alternate between the past and present, allowing readers the opportunity to follow along as Reena falls in love for the first, and second time. Cotugno proves adept at capturing the mindset of a teenage girl in love.  The depth of emotions and complexity of the social issues carefully interwoven into the story set this debut book apart from the scads of teen contemporary novels on the market today.  If you enjoy this story you might also enjoy Jenny Han's The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy.  

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