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The How & the Why

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  124 ratings  ·  65 reviews
A poignant exploration of family and the ties that bind, perfect for fans of Far From the Tree, from New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand.

Today Melly had us writing letters to our babies…

Cassandra McMurtrey has the best parents a girl could ask for. They’ve given Cass a life she wouldn’t trade for the world. She has everything she needs—ex
ebook, 450 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by HarperTeen
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Average rating 4.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  124 ratings  ·  65 reviews

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Cynthia Hand
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Covering coming SOOOOOOOON.
This is the second book I've finished today and both have made me cry. A lot. Is there a correlation between my tears and loving a book? Maybe. But not necessarily. I've definitely still cried for books I've hated, so. There's that.

However. I didn't hate this book at all. I figured this would be emotional as it was about adoption, family, and also likened to FAR FROM THE TREE by Robin Benway — another story that I'm pretty sure I remember made me cry a lot.

This one is tol
Beautiful, heartbreaking, hopeful.. Such an emotional ride!

This book seems to have the author’s heart imprinted on each page.
And honestly, I loved every aspect of this novel and every character. It's a story about family, friendship, and the need to belong in both ways; about first love and first major choices, about passions and and achievements and disappointments; it's a story about so much more.

It's powerful, it's heartwarming, it's incredible and deep and still beautifully sub
Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)
"The point is, I hope you get it - the why of the whole thing. I hope you have a good life- a boring, no-drama, no-real-problems kind of life.
Good luck, X. I wish you the best."
I have such a weakness for family stories. I will without fail, pick up a book if family is a central focus, and I can say The How & the Why is a great addition to the emotional family-centric stories that I love. The story is told in 2 perspectives: 18 year old Cass as she’s getting ready for all that comes with
Kait Goodwin (Kait Plus Books)
Full review to be posted on closer to the release date (which is in November, not December. Oops!), but just know that this is probably going to be my favorite book of 2019. So read this book as soon as you can get your hands on it!!! (And also have a box of tissues ready)
Mari Johnston
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review and many others can also be found at Musings of a (Book) Girl.

Content Warnings: adoption, hospitals, heart disease, surgery, racism, abuse, depression, suicide attempt, drug abuse, alcoholism

This book. THIS. BOOK. Oh my gosh…

Every single sentence oozed emotion. I felt every word – all the hope, fear, longing, embarrassment, anger, confusion, dread, excitement.

It’s hard to write a review for a book like this. Cassandra’s mom dealt with heart issues and was in the hos/>Content
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful poignant story which brought a lump to my throat at times when the emotions rose like a tidal wave.

This book was about family, a young 16 year old girl S who gave up her baby for adoption and Cassandra the baby who was adopted and was now eighteen and wanted to find her birth mother. The story also dealt with the relationships with her parents, grandmother, best friend Nyla and Bastian. Her ambition and future education were well weaved into the story. Her mother was on t
Stacy Fetters
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"To me, you’re still sort of intangible. I know you’re in there, but you’re not obvious yet. You’re tight pants. You’re heartburn. You’re the space alien slowly taking over my body. You’re X."

Going into this book, I thought it was going to be an easy read. Oh, I was so wrong. It was deeply emotional and beautiful. I found my eyes filling with tears as I read Cassandra’s story. Family stories are a definite must-read and I never wanted this to end.

Cassandra is adopted and she never knew he
Paula  Phillips
Oct 19, 2019 rated it liked it

As soon as I saw the synopsis for this book, I knew I wanted to read it as I have always been fascinated with adoption stories and the desire to meet your birth parents. I think it has stemmed from the fact that my dad never knew his birth father and also I have an older half- brother who was adopted out five and half years before I was born. I have met him a few times but we aren't close. In The How and the Why, you could also see the author's "realness' shine through as she was also adopted. T
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
The How and the Why is a Young Adult contemporary book.

I have enjoyed previous books by this author so I was excited to get to read her newest book.

The narrator is 18 year old Cassandra (1st person POV). She lives in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Cassandra is starting her senior year of high school. So she has to think about college. But she also has other serious things going on in her life.

She was adopted at birth. And now that she is 18 she has to decide i
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The How and the Why is a touching, remarkable novel about family. Cynthia Hand delivers sad and funny moments that will have readers chuckling even as they wipe away tears. A story about adoption, belonging, acceptance and love.

Cass has always known she was adopted. It’s something her parents have shared with her, even if there were no details about her birth parents, their lives or why they gave her up for adoption. But as Cass’s mother waits for a heart transplant that seems increa
Madeline Nixon
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this book going into it. I knew I would either love or hate it, because that’s how I feel about adoption stories, having come from a family that is involved with foster care and adoptive families. I feel like this book was really well done, very tasteful, and accurately presented a situation. I could relate to Cassandra and S. The writing was very approachable and had a lot of heart to it. I know this is a personal story for the author and that came across. I ...more
Zemira (Kylo Ren fangirl) Warner
This is my favorite Cynthia Hand contemporary novel she has written so far.

Hand tells us two stories. One is in form of letter of a pregnant teen to her unborn baby and the other is the story of a adopted girl. Both of the girls had different voices but I found myself more interested in the life of the mysterious pregnant girl.
Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard
Not a damn clue what this is about but it's Cynthia Hand so I gotta have it
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-contemporary
4.5 stars rounded up!

The How & The Why is a beautiful and poignant coming of age novel that was so deeply emotional. From page to page, I didn’t know if I would end up laughing or tear up. My heart was bursting at the seams the entire time.

Cassandra is adopted and has never known her biological parents. She has had the incredible fortune of being raised by two amazing parents. Now that Cass is eighteen and starting her senior year, she should be focusing on college applicatio
Nay Denise
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Received a copy for review from the publisher.

Gutted. Beautifully written. Heart-wrenching. Loved the ending. Debating between a 3.75 or 4 star rating.

Full review to come.


Going with a solid four star rating for this beauty.

If you do not want a book that will make you cry tears then do not pick up this book. This book is real and heartwarming that you will cry with each turn the page. A YA contemporary that sheds light
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Get out your tissues! This heartwarming saga explores adoption from both sides. Cassandra turns eighteen and begins a search for her birth mother. Simultaneously we read the letters her birth mother was writing while she was pregnant. I kept imagining Ellen Page from "Juno" when I was reading the letters. Simply lovely and such an affirmation of life.

Thank you to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Amy Ann
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve not read the book yet but as someone whose life has been touched by adoption I’m very happy that this topic is being covered in literature more as I believe it’s very important I know I would of felt less alone if there were more books like this out when I was coming to terms with my own adoption
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing’s been a hot minute since I’ve read a book I didn’t want to put down—or end, for that matter. There is so much to love about this story: the writing, the family dynamic, Cass and Nyla’s friendship, the letters, all of it. It’s thought provoking and at times, utterly heartbreaking, but so full of hope.

And that epilogue... ♥♥♥♥
Lenissa Davis
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Dear X,

When it comes to books I know that's going to be emotional and possibly make me cry I try to steer away from them because I really don't want to cry my heart out at 12:30 in the morning and yet that's what I did. I had everything planned out, I sectioned it off every 5 chapters or so to read every day because I was in a reading slump last month (October). I didn't stick to that at all, at the end of ev
Kait Armada
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*I was given a copy of this book to leave an honest review*

Don’t mind me here. I’ve just got something in my eye.

It takes a lot for a book to make me cry. There’s only been a handful and now this one has made the cut. I read the last word bawling, all the emotions spilling out in an ugly fashion. 

And that last word. Why couldn’t there have just been like ten more? Just a tinsy tiny bit more. Leaving it there is like a knife in the chest. Oh well… what can I do
Leelynn (Sometimes Leelynn Reads) ❤
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Edelweiss, Fantastic Flying Book Club, and HarperTeen for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.

I have to say that… after reading this book, I feel extremely grateful and privileged to have grown up knowing who my real parents are, and have never had to guess whether or not my mother ever loved me. Sure, t
Emily Nicholas | Emily The Book Nerd
*Thank you to the FFBC and Cynthia Hand for an arc copy of the book*

I had no idea what to expect going into The How & They Why and I was pleasantly surprised. This is one of my new favorite books for many reasons. Let me gush about this amazing novel. I cried, I laughed, I smiled almost the entire time reading the book. I could not p
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was definitely an emotional read, with so much of it being placed at the heart of the story, the life of an adoptive child, of living in the knowing that something is never going to be right, of growing from it and being more than a situation there was no definite choice in. I didn't realize how much I would come to appreciate this novel and what it represents. Yes, there were those parts that didn't always pull at my heartstrings, but if anything it was only for a minor fraction of this bo ...more
The Clever Reader
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am so glad I’ve come to love YA Contemporary novels because I got to review this one! The How and the Why is an adoption story about a young girl who has always known she was adopted but never felt the need to find her birth mother until she turned 18 and it became a possibility.

Cass loves theater, has the best bestie ever, and has two loving parents. Now that she’s older and about to leave for college a part of her wants to know more about where she comes from. When her parents pr
Michele(mluker) Luker
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I finished this book a week ago....and it's still on my mind...heavy on my mind.

This story is written with two points of views...The first is Cass, a typical high school teenager in Theater with a great group of friends. She is starting to plan for college, in a way being indecisive like every teenager...thinking she would love a boyfriend, and starting to wonder about her birth mother....while having guilt about her mother's illness. The second is "S" a sixteen year old girl living
Tara Vincent
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
Oh my gosh! This book! I just finished and reviewed the last little bit. The angst.....I'm excited, then I'm bummed, then I'm really excited, then I'm bummed; but ok, only because I wanted more....because it was that good....but so good with the way it ended too. Ugh. I absolutely love books that emotionally pull at you like this.
Thank you Harper Collins for an advance copy to read and review. I love Goodreads giveaways!
This story was perfectly woven together. The characters were awe
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Huge thank you to Harper Collins Canada for this ARC!

Cynthia Hand has a magic power: she makes me cry at the drop of a hat. The How and the Way is a book that explores adoption, family, and how we deal with the unknown. After finishing the book and reading the author's note, it's abundantly clear that this is Cynthia Hand's most personal book to date, and may be my favourite one that I've read of hers.

This book is an emotional book -- it's out to make you cry, having a million feel
Ren (A Bookish Balance)
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-hardcopy
4.5/5 stars

The How & the Why is a dual narrative story following an adopted girl named Cassie and her birth mother, S. In Cassie's narrative we see she's feeling a little lost, her mom's heart is failing, her dad is pushing her to go to a school she doesn't want to, and she's beginning to have questions about her birth mom (she had a closed adoption). S's perspective is a series of letters written to Cassie that follow S's pregnancy journey.

I loved how Cassie's perspective never quite w/>The
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

As an adoptee, I don't think I have the words to describe how much I adored The How & the Why. It's a story that has the power to resonate with a lot of adoptees. The questions that you ask, "How and why?" How did I get to where I am and why?

While neither Cass or Nyla, two characters who were adopted in The How & the Why, represent my adoption story, I could de
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Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for teens, including the UNEARTHLY trilogy, THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE, MY LADY JANE and MY PLAIN JANE (with fellow authors Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows), THE AFTERLIFE OF HOLLY CHASE, and the upcoming novels THE HOW AND THE WHY and MY CALAMITY JANE (also with Ashton and Meadows). Before turning to writing for young adults, ...more