Sandra's Reviews > How to Love

How to Love by Katie Cotugno
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it was amazing


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The end made me so damn happy for Reena and Sawyer.

This book was not perfect. It has some shortcomings, but personally I thought this book was great. I think it dealt with the topic of teenage pregnancy realistically. I should know because I have been in that situation. I have been Reena at some point in my life, and I could definitely say that most of the situations Reena went through in this book was accurate.

I've read a couple of negative reviews about this book and they were complaining about Sawyer being a douchebag. And I agree, he is a douchebag. But that's the entire point of the Before and After POVs from Reena. You get to see the "what happened" and the "why he left" and also the "how different is he now".

But I'm not going to elaborate on that now. Let's start with the gist first.


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.


Reena and Sawyer practically grew up together. Their families are basically one family, because of a joint business their parents have. Reena always liked Sawyer, but she has always been too scared to act on those feelings. So she just let it go.

Reena had a bright future ahead of her. She was smart and very studious. She was taking advanced classes and is actually about to graduate earlier than she should be. But what she wasn't expecting was being with Sawyer. And being with Sawyer was not what she expected. It was good, for the most part, but there were other things that she did not know about Sawyer that she had to accept, because she likes him.

So... the thing happened. You guys know what I mean. Right?

Yeah so it happened and well she got pregnant at 16.

And Sawyer.

He left. Without saying a word.



Serena or Reena is a great character. She made some mistakes, but that's all part of life isn't it? And that's what made this book great. The characters were flawed and imperfect. You don't go into a teenage pregnancy book and think that the main character is a Mary Sue. No that does not happen. These kids obviously did something stupid and immature, hence why this is a teenage pregnancy book and not just your typical romance book.

I read a few reviews saying that she was well immature and all that stuff. She's not. She's actually more mature and independent than I was when I got pregnant. I got pregnant when I was eighteen and a mom at 19. I was an adult. But to be honest, she handled things pretty well on her own than I did. I was a mess. I was crap. I was useless. And that's the reality of being a teenage mom. There were times that she made crappy decisions like with Aaron, but give her a break. People makes mistakes, not just people who got pregnant early whose baby daddy comes back and now they don't know what to do. That also happens to people who doesn't have kids. Let's not be too judgemental.

Although, there are a lot of things that happened to Reena that didn't happen to me, I still connected to her in a deeper level than I was ready for. I cried, especially on the confrontation scene with her Dad. That was just... me. It was like that was me. And it did happen to me too so... I guess that's why that made me cry.


Now this dude is a dick. I agree. He had some stupid decisions. He's done stuff he shouldn't have. He treated Reena like crap on some occasions. But he is not a bad person. On the before POVs that is. If you've read the after POVs closely, you'll get why he left. I actually like the transitions of the Before and After POVs because it explains what is happening in the present. And it totally made sense for him to leave.

Do you guys want to know what type of guy is real douchebag? THE ONE WHO LEAVES, DOESN'T SAY GOODBYE AND DOESN'T RETURN OR THE ONE WHO KNOWS YOU GOT PREGNANT BUT LEAVES ANYWAYS WITHOUT EVEN A CARE. And Sawyer wasn't either of those. He left, that's true, but he had a very valid reason. I should know.

I like Sawyer. I really do. He's just one of those kids who is so pressured into doing everything right, that he is intentionally doing things wrong. I could relate to that too. Although, I don't do drugs and all that crappy crap, but the pressure of doing what your expected to do is pretty heavy especially when you as a person would like to do something else. And that is what Sawyer's burden was.

Also, people change. And I liked seeing that with Sawyer's character. You'll see the contrast of who he was then and who he was currently. I thought his character was pretty well played.

The Parents

I felt that Katie also made it a point to include the conflic these two had with their parents and I really liked that. I would have to say that both of their parents were crap, but happy that Reena's father at least was able to redeem themselves.


It was very well played for me. I felt that it was not perfect but it was good. Reena and Sawyer obviously really liked each other. There were just some situations that stood in the way which prevented them from being together earlier and letting Allie (Reena's no good friend) having Sawyer first.

But I don't want to talk about that. I want to emphasize on the fact that they were responsible people that has feelings. If Sawyer knew, I think he wouldn't have left. I honestly don't understand how people could think that just because someone hurts you, you can shut down all your feelings for that person. You can't!!! Especially not when you share something as important as a kid. You can hate him/her at some point, but at the end of the day, you shared something special with that person and you can't hate them forever. And Reena did not forget that. She made it so clear to Sawyer that she was not okay with him being back a couple of times.

"You can't just come here after all this time and try to joke around with me and act like nother happened. That's not - Stuff happene, Sawyer. You can't just be back.

And it was hard for Reena. You'll see her struggle about her conflicted feelings. Aaron was easy and Sawyer was complicated. She could just stay with Aaron, but will that make her completely happy? Will it be okay for her to stay on the safe side and not risk the chance of her having a complete family and be happy? Will you?

And Sawyer, I think I'm going to spoil you guys a bit, didn't know Reena was pregnant okay? He didn't fucking know. My douchebag of an ex-bf did know. And you know what? He left anyways. That's my basis of douchebaggery. So forgive me if I don't think Sawyer is a big douchebag. He is far from it. He's just a person who made lots of crazy mistakes that he is currently trying to ammend.

So do I think Sawyer and Reena should be together? Yes. Why? Well because they didn't split up because they wanted to anyways. They still had feelings for each other so there's really no reason why they couldn't work that out to have a complete family with their baby Hannah.


I loved this book so much and happy that I read it first. It is not for everyone I get it, but luckily it was for me. I get all those things that happened to Reena and I think that's why I loved it more than I should have.

This book was about love, mistakes, and making up for those mistakes. It's about forgiveness. Trust. Family. There were a lot of good points on this book that really touched me. The characters all had their own struggles and demons to face.

How to love is not only about loving a significant other. It's about loving your parents, your daughter, your friend. And I totally loved that. So much love. It reminded me of If I Stay by Gale Forman in some ways because of the different types of love that was shown in this book. I thought the plot twists were just placed at the right times.

This book made me real emotional. Emotional in a way that was good. I liked reading about people owning up to their mistakes and correcting their paths. Reena may have not been in the college of her choice, but at least she is still making something out of her life. And that goes with Sawyer too. That's why he came back.

Fresh start. And I think everyone deserves that.
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Reading Progress

December 31, 2014 – Started Reading
December 31, 2014 – Shelved
January 1, 2015 –
15.0% "That best friend of hers is such a douchebag."
January 2, 2015 –
30.0% "Please. Please don't make the wrong choice. Don't choose the dickhead."
January 3, 2015 –
55.0% "
"The truth: I can’t stop thinking about Sawyer.
\n \n Noooo. Don't do this to Aaron. Nooooooooooo. I seriously want to bitchslap this bitch senseless until she sees what a decent guy she already have."
January 5, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by Lola (new)

Lola Oh, I did not know this book contained a teenage mom. Aww, well, I would have been stressed out if I had a child so early. I don't feel comfortable having the life of someone in my hands. At least, not at this point of my life. Anyhow, I am very glad this worked so well for you. I will deifinitely give it a chance sometime. Wonderdul review :D

Sandra Lola wrote: "Oh, I did not know this book contained a teenage mom. Aww, well, I would have been stressed out if I had a child so early. I don't feel comfortable having the life of someone in my hands. At least,..."

Hehe. I honestly don't recommend having a kid early. It has its perks, but... its hard and I don't get how some people could think its so easy. LOL. Thanks so much Lola. :D *hugs*

Lady Vigilante (Feifei) Awww! Wonderful review Aria, and sending you virtual hugs ;) ♥

Sandra Thank you Feifei!! :)

Jerusha ME TOOOO!!!!!

message 6: by Olivia (new) - added it

Olivia Did Reena and Sawyer end up together tho?

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