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 Shine, Fangirl, 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?