Bookanista Rec :: HOW TO LOVE

Today’s Bookanista recommendation is
How to Love by Katie Cotugno

From Goodreads – 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 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?

This book… I wish I could put into words how much I adore it, and how deeply it moved me. If ever there was a perfect Katy Book, How to Love is it. It’s a story full of all the things I love about contemporary YA: an awesomely relatable main character, a troubled but inherently good love interest, emotional richness so intense there were times I had to step away, and tons of sweet/steamy/loving/passionate moments that never, ever got old.

There were so many elements of this story that I felt a personal connection to, and most of them led back to main character Reena… Her longing for adventure and her enthusiasm for writing. Her maturity and introvertedness. The fondness she feels for the members of her family, imperfect as they are. Her desire to be a good person, and to make good choices, not to mention the guilt and disappointment she feels at failing. Her unconditional and lasting love for Sawyer, and her absolute devotion to her daughter. Reena is my idea of a “strong female character” personified, and she’s my newest favorite YA protagonists.

Other things I love about How to Love… Its Florida setting. Its strong sense of family. Its references to Catholicism. Its fantastically genuine voice and witty dialogue. Its nonlinear before-and-after format. And, of course, its love interest, Sawyer LeGrande. Oh, Sawyer… He’s got issues. He can be a jerk. He does stupid things. And yet, I love him as Reena does. Somehow, even through all of his nonsense and idiocy, it’s easy to see the goodness in Sawyer’s heart. It’s easy to root for him to get his shit together, for his sake and for Reena’s.

I adore How to Love in the very same way I adore Lola and the Boy Next Door, The Sky is Everywhere, Where the Stars Still ShineFangirl, and Saving June. I want so badly for it to get the exposure it deserves, and I’m so confident that you’ll love it too, I will buy a copy for one lucky person who comments on today’s post (US only, please). So, tell me about the last truly fantastic book you read, and I’ll randomly select a winner and post his/her name Monday. Sound good?

Don’t forget to check out what my fellow Bookanistas are up to:

Shari Arnold is enthralled with THE BITTER KINGDOM by Rae Carson

Christine Fonseca is nostalgic with ROOMIES by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

Jessica Love is wild for WINGER by Andrew Smith


Tell me: What’s the last really amazing novel read?


23 thoughts on “Bookanista Rec :: HOW TO LOVE

  1. Zanne says:

    I wasn’t entirely sure if I wanted to read this book based just on the description. But after reading your thoughts on it, I’ll definitely add it to my to-read list. 🙂 Any time someone is this passionate about a book, I just have to read it.

    The last truly fantastic book I read was actually not YA, but I have to mention it because it was that good. It was Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. It was incredible and heart breaking and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days after.

    As for a YA book, I’d say Golden. I like books about good girls who take chances, since I was a good girl in high school. 🙂 Plus I loved the mystery.

    • katyupperman says:

      Zanne, I’ll definitely check out ME BEFORE YOU — thanks for the recommendation. Since we seem to have similar taste in contemporaries, I am absolutely confident that you will love HOW TO LOVE. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  2. Dahlia Adler says:

    I just read an ARC for WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart yesterday and it just shattered me completely. I’m so excited for people to read it next year, but it definitely made me want to rock in the corner for a little while. The last published ones I really loved were THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Kasie West (SO cute!) and DANGEROUS GIRLS by Abigail Haas, which was so gloriously twisty and such a crazy fast read. Excited to hear how much you enjoyed HOW TO LOVE; it’s been on my TBR for a long time!

    • katyupperman says:

      I have a feeling you’ll really like HOW TO LOVE, Dahlia. It’s definitely one of my favorites of the year. I’m so looking forward to reading DANGEROUS GIRLS and DISTANCE. Thank you for the recs!

  3. Krispy says:

    Katy, you are seriously my go-to for Contemporary reads! It really helps since it’s not my genre of choice, but I do love reading them every once in a while. They make great in-between/break books from my usual fare, which can get predictable and tiring if I don’t switch it up. 🙂

    The last truly fantastic book I read? I don’t even know. I read so many good book this year, many of them not-debuts. I read the entire Lumatere Chronicles this year, so that might have to be my pick. I don’t think I’ve felt so strongly about so many different characters (even ones I didn’t always like) since maybe Harry Potter? And obviously, I adored The Dream Thieves, was thrilled by Gone Girl and The 5th Wave, and moved by Just One Day. And I still have books I MUST read before the end of the year, which I think will easily be added to this list: Victoria Schwab’s VICIOUS, Rainbow Rowell’s FANGIRL, Elizabeth Wein’s ROSE UNDER FIRE.

    Anyway, I’m going to refrain from continuing this essay. Thanks for this rec and review (and the giveaway)!

    • katyupperman says:

      I feel exactly the same way about the Lumatere Chronicles — so amazing! Of course, I expect nothing less from Melina Marchetta. Have you read any of her contemporaries? JELLICOE ROAD is my absolute favorite! Can’t wait to hear what you think of FANGIRL, Alice. I think you’ll love it!

      • Krispy says:

        No! I haven’t read JELLICOE ROAD yet, but I have heard nothing but good things! Even some of my pickier reader friends (who have hated things I’ve loved) agree on Jellicoe, hah! And yes, since I was/am a fangirl, I can’t wait to get to it. I bought Attachments recently too!

  4. Alison Miller says:

    This sounds like such an Alison book! The last fantastic amazing book I read? DREAM THIEVES. I’m still thinking about that one! Thanks for the giveaway, Katy!

  5. Sara Biren (@sbiren) says:

    Hands down, the last fantastic book I read was FANGIRL. Rainbow was in town last week but I was unable to go; however! I scored a signed copy yesterday at a local bookstore. Just love all her books. I’ve got this one on my TBR. Thanks for offering a giveaway! 😉

    • katyupperman says:

      Oh, I loved FANGIRL so much, Sara! I’m so envious of your signed copy! Rainbow Rowell is definitely one of my must-meet authors. I would love to hear her speak, and have her sign copies of her books for me. Have you read E&P or ATTACHMENTS? I loved them both, but FANGIRL is definitely my favorite :)!

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