Book Review,  Reviews

How To Love – Katie Cotugno

“I’ve been looking for Sawyer for half a lifetime when I find him standing in front of the Slurpee machine at the 7-eleven on Federal Highway, gazing through the window at the frozen, neon-bright churning like he’s expecting the mysteries of the universe to be revealed to him from inside. 

Come to think of it, maybe he is. 
I stop. I stare. I need gum and a soda and a box of animal crackers for Hannah, but already I known I’m going to be walking out of this place empty-handed.”

Reena was a good girl, on track to get out of her small town a year early and go to college to become a travel writer. Everything was running smoothly until it all feel apart. Her best friend dies in a car crash, her first crush becomes more than she ever thought possible, and everything changes. How to Love is a love story like no other, because it is not the start, not the end, not even the middle, it is all of these things rolled into one; it is life. 


How to Love is an incredible emotional journey through one girls very mixed up thoughts and the things that she cannot explain from her life. Reena does not have all the answers, she doesn’t even know the questions, but that is what makes this book so special and I really did love it.

The story is incredibly powerful and I love the way it is told. Each chapter is titled ‘After’ and ‘Before’ and at the beginning you are kinda thinking, what was in the middle, what happened that was so major. You soon learn what happened and that  is really the huge elephant in the room a lot of the time throughout the book. The swap in time periods wasn’t as confusing as I thought it might be and I followed the story really well for the most part. The whole book would tell a completely, and quite frankly annoying story if it only told the after parts so I think this pretty much the main reason why my opinions are so high about this book. Reena, and Sawyer, are both completely different people in the two different times and I loved what this tells you about them as they are. The story was beautiful and heart breaking yet real.

The reality was backed up by characters I could see from people I know in real life. Reena was lucky in some aspects that her family didnt chuck her out of the house but I know her life wasn’t easy. Sawyer had serious problems and Aaron was the perfect boy who was just too perfect. Soledad was possibly my favourite bystander in the story and you could tell just how much she balanced out Reena’s family. I could see the characters as real people and Shelby was by far my favourite, it was refreshing to have a gay character where their sexuality wasn’t made a major deal out of. I honestly think Reena was my least favourite character because I found her exceptionally annoying in places… though she had the most character development.

How to Love was exceptionally easy to read and gripped me. There were major cliffhangers at the end of some chapters and that wasn’t helped by the fact you always had to read another time period before finding out what would happen but this helped the pace of the story I think and I really enjoyed it. Things weren’t really glossed over in any way and I think a lot of people will enjoy the book because of this.

For anyone that whats a true, realistic love story How To Love is for you. Reality isn’t always easy, things don’t always work out how you want them to and this book really puts that message across. I usually shy away from romances but this wowed me and I can safely say I will be checking out any future books by Katie Cotugno.

How to Live was published by Quercus on 3rd October. My copy was sent from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

For more info please visit:
Amazon | Hive | Goodreads | Author Website


  • Jesse Owen

    This sounds so good – I didn’t know it switched to before and after’s – I’ve just finished a book which does a similar thing, I love the extra dynamic it brings. I’ll have to read this one now šŸ™‚

  • So Many Books, So Little Time

    I’m so glad you loved this as it’s one of my favourite books so far this year. I thought the Before and After chapters was a brilliant idea, and like you, thought the difference between their characters in them made the story so much better.

  • Anya

    I am so looking forward to this! I love the idea of a realistic love story, and the before and after splits sounds interesting, didn’t know it was set out like that šŸ™‚

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