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The How and the Why

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  631 ratings  ·  223 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—except maybe the one thing
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by HarperTeen
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Average rating 4.28  · 
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chan ☆
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
poignant & realistic YA contemporary. here for it

there's not much to say about the plot that isn't described in the blurb. this story is about cassie who is a senior in high school and going thru a lot: her mom needs a heart transplant, she has a crush on the new guy, she's fighting with her bestie, she's trying to get a scholarship to her dream college and she wants to learn more about her birth mother.

this story is told in dual POVs. cassie's and her birth mom's letters to her that she
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 told in two timelines of a
Cynthia Hand
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Covering coming SOOOOOOOON.
4 stars

I loved this one. I thought it would be a 5 star for sure. But that ending... I needed more! Either way, it was a great read.

 photo IMG_2126_zps2zoh6txw.png
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 subtle in some
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 put it down. It was so good that I read it in about two sittings. This book was very easy to

Many thanks to Wunderkind PR for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

recommended by Ms. Jen!

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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)
Melanie  Brinkman
Maybe these letters can say the words I can't speak...

Cass has been blessed with a wonderful life. Parents who love her, a best friend who's always there for her, dream she dares to aspire for, and more. But she yearns to learn the things she's never known, like where she came from, and who she is. All things her adoptive parents can't answer, even though their love knows no bounds. As Cass endlessly searches for answers, everything seems like a dead end. But eighteen years ago someone wrote a
Mari Johnston
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 hospital for the
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 the waiting
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
(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 deeply
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight

This book is phenomenal and will make you feel so many things that your emotions might actually explode but you'll be okay with it cause it's worth it.I mean, I almost don't want to tell you much about it because I just want you to go ahead and experience it for yourself? I'll try to give you a little idea of why you must.

• FAMILY. Can I be any clearer that this novel is straight up
Stacy Fetters
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
"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 her
Paula  Phillips

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.
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 if she wants to learn more about her birth
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 applications, but she
Ren (A Bookish Balance)
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 went
This was really very good. A slow start which builds to an unputdownable and emotional read that felt true-to-life, it was achingly sad, joyous and hopeful. I loved the dual POVs (the daughter, as a teenager, and the mum, also as a pregnant teenager, years before). I loved the other pregnant teen mums, actually, I pretty much loved the whole cast of characters, the family dynamics. A new fave for me.
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Loved this story! A little too perfect at the end but I would definitely recommend it!
Bri | bribooks
Dec 04, 2019 rated it liked it
A heartbreaking, hard-hitting contemporary about adoption (and college admissions, and acting, and occasional bouts of racism too . . .), The How & the Why had me in its grasp, until it didn’t.

Where this book began losing me was a very obvious and predictable twist re: the love interest. I saw it coming from a mile away, and I couldn’t believe the main character didn’t either. Still, I was able to look past it as it didn’t have much bearing on the story as a whole.

What I can’t forgive,
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 increasingly
Madeline Nixon
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
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. ...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
Feb 11, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2019
Not a damn clue what this is about but it's Cynthia Hand so I gotta have it
Nay Denise
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 on adoption and the heart of a teen wanting to
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It definitely hits you hard in the feels. Hard to get into at the beginning, but slowly you get into the story and are just so curious where the story is going. What's gonna happen. And at the least for me, I wanted more to see what would happen but I do understand why the ending was done the way it was. Definitely recommend
Nicole Williams
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is probably my favourite book of 2019.

Scratch that.

This book is probably one of my new favourites EVER.

The How and The Why follows eighteen-year-old Cass trying to find her biological mother after her adoptive mother falls ill and requests Cass to find her bio mom so they can meet. However, it also follows the narrative of Cass's bio-mom via letters she had written while being pregnant with her.

Both plotlines were equally interesting, in my opinion. Typically, when I read something with a
Naomi Sasaki
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mon Dieu, this book was a chefs kiss from beggining to end. Definitely a must read.
But I got to say that I liked way more S than Cassandra, which I found annoying from time to time with "the whole world is against me" thoughts, but well oh well...
When I thought the last chapter left me kind of teary and with goosebumps, there comes that epilogue that left me shoked as hell.
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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