Published by Balzer + Bray on October 1, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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How to Love is a beautiful, realistic, and poignant story about two teens that fall in love, the repercussions of their decisions, and how after years apart, they find their way back to each other. This book could also be categorized as “new adult”, as it definitely straddles the line between YA and adult. I was able to quickly connect with the protagonist, Reena, and I loved how the story was told from her perspective but alternated between before and after she had her baby. This format effectively made How to Love two romance stories in one.
As much as I loved the story, Reena, and how character driven it was… I didn’t like Sawyer, Reena’s love interest. I spent most of the book wondering why Reena was so infatuated with him. She’s a smart girl, and I saw a lot of my teen self in her – driven, with the desire to travel and explore – and I’d never date him. I was suspicious of him through most of the book; I just kept waiting for him to be a cheater. About ¾ of the way through he finally started to grow on me.
I can’t seem to get enough YA/NA contemporary novels these days – I’ve read a ton – and this book continues to stand out. How to Love is beautifully written, and months later, I’m still thinking about these characters. Merritt Hicks narrated the audiobook and I thought she was fantastic, and captured the emotions perfectly.
How to Love was my favorite debut novel of 2013 (yes, I’m a bit late in posting this review)! I highly recommend this book for fans of character driven, realistic fiction. I can’t wait to read more from Katie Cotugno!