Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Manifesto of What NOT To Do

Expected Publication:  October 1st, 2013
How To Love
By: Katie Cotugno
Balzer + Bray
ISBN-13:  9780062216359
Before: 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.

After: 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.
     Reena and Sawyer had known each other forever.  But when Reena turned fifteen, they finally began to connect as friends, which led to a really complicated and destructive romance.  Sawyer left town, leaving behind a pregnant and bewildered Reena behind.  Almost three years later Reena is raising Hannah, their daughter, with the help of her best friend, boyfriend (her friend's brother), Dad and Stepmom.  She's also going to community college and in a healthy relationship.  It all starts to come crashing down when Sawyer comes back to town and tries to get Reena back into his life - and his arms.  Will Reena be able to forgive Sawyer for leaving her behind, or will they crash and burn again?
     I'm going to have a really hard time reviewing this book.  I'll lay it on the line right now: I pretty much hated Reena's guts after I finished the book.  I understood her, but really hated her with all my heart.  I felt like she kept making the same stupid decisions over and over again, while pretending that things were changing.  Cotugno definitely knew how to write a compelling novel and her writing style is very easy to read and realistic.  Sometimes it's the most realistic novels that get to you the most.  Reena's family was screwed up, but trying to be as supportive as possible.  My heart broke for her Dad, even though I did agree with Reena that he had basically stopped loving her/forgiving her when she became pregnant outside of marriage (they were Catholic).  Her best friend Shelby was really a bright spot and always was there for Reena.  I did like that she called her on her bullshit and horrible treatment of Shelby's brother (and basically her placeholder boyfriend till Sawyer got back).  I felt like their relationship was mostly about Reena's drama and very little about Shelby.
     The way Katie got me, as a reader, involved in this book was amazing to me - especially since I disliked the main character so much.  She definitely had a way with words and kept the action moving along, although the angst did get a little ridiculous at certain points.  Mainly besides Reena what annoyed me the most in this novel was the destructive and unhealthy relationship between her and Sawyer, that was romanticized and made out to be so wonderfully epic.  Sawyer was a dirtbag of the lowest order.  He was basically a man-whore, who dated Reena's best friend to get to her and cheated with Reena.  Throughout their entire relationship he basically just used her for sex and took her on 'dates' to meet his drug supplier.  And he gets an underaged girl pregnant and abandons her.  Yeah, he's a real Prince Charming isn't he?  I feel like a lot of the reason Reena got sucked into his web again was because she had put on blinders in regards to his use/discard treatment of her and always hoped he'd come back and they'd be the perfect family.  It all felt very MTV Teen Mom to me, in the worst possible way.  The thought of them getting back together when all they do is bring out the worst in each other made me want to gag.  Overall, not something I really enjoyed even if it was well-written and I wouldn't recommend it to young teens.  It totally might send the wrong message if the teen reading it isn't bright enough to read between the lines.  The only reason I'm rating what I am is the high quality of the writing and the fact that I finished it.
VERDICT:  2.5/5  Stars
*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via Edelweiss.  No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book's expected publication is October 1st, 2013.*

1 comment:

  1. Wow cool to know someone didn't like this book!! I've been seeing SO many people put it on their most anticipated reads list, that I was beginning to wonder what it was all about. It sounds like I wouldn't like Sawyer or his and Reena's relationship AT ALL!! Even though I am guilty in the past of not having enough sense to get away from an unhealthy relationship... I don't think I want to read about such things because it infuriates me!

    PS- I LOVE your review titles!!!! Very creative!


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