Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Book Review: How To Love by Katie Contungo

From Goodreads

Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: as natural as breathing, as endless as time. But he's never seemed to notice that Reena even exists until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town without a word, leaving a devastated—and pregnant—Reena behind.

Almost three years have passed, and there's a new love in Reena's life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena's gotten used to being without Sawyer, and she's finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. Reena doesn't want anything to do with him, though she'd be lying if she said Sawyer's being back wasn't stirring something in her. After everything that's happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?

In this breathtaking debut, Katie Cotugno weaves together the story of one couple falling in love—twice.

My Review

2 "The Cover Got Me" Stars

I'm going to bother doing my usual superfluous summary thing, because the Goodreads synopsis sums it up the entire story. I saw this on Book Outlet a few weeks ago, and bought it just for the color. It's so visually appealing to me, and it even feels nice in your hands! It was cheap, pretty, and the synopsis sounded like something different from the usual YA contemporary.

Alas, it sucked.

Sawyer. My god, I hated him. 
He comes back into town and Reena unexpectedly meets him in a gas station. Sawyer had no idea she was pregnant, and only knows from the town gossip that she's now a mom. Once Sawyer finds out that the baby is actually his, he has next to no reaction. Okay, so you could write that off as temporary shock, right? Wrong. He's like that through the entire book. 
His attitude towards his daughter made me want to smack him on so many levels. He doesn't care that he's missed nearly two years of his child's life, is indifferent about seeing her, doesn't try and work out a visiting schedule with Reena, nothing. He was completely apathetic about everything.

I wanted to smack him throughout the entire book, to be perfectly honest. I suppose some might find him charming, but the way he spoke to Reena and acted around her was downright disrespectful to me. He's immature, selfish, and an all around ass. 
He's also an ex-addict, and while I'm not saying that people don't deserve a second chance...Reena is fine with immediately handing her daughter off to Sawyer, with no discussion or worry that the last time she saw him he was higher than a kite. I won't let my bird around a person like that without being certain they were clean first, never mind my dogs (I don't have kids, so I'm coming up with the closet thing :p).

Reena. This girl is the queen of whining! Not a page went by where she wasn't moaning about something or other. I get it, I do: life as a mom is hard, especially as a teenaged mother. However, Reena has so much more than most teen parents do, and every limit she has are self inflicted. She annoyed me beyond belief, complaining about anything and everything while enjoying:
  • Being a high school graduate
  • Going to college
  • Having unlimited (FREE!!!) child care
  • Having a steady job
  • Having a boyfriend that genuinely likes her kid and is fine with her status as a mother
  • Hanging out with a great best friend 
  • Not struggling for money
  • Living at home 

She has so much, and she's still not satisfied. I didn't care about her so called "issues" whatsoever.

She also only tended to care or think about her child when it was convenient for her. There were no thoughts about putting her daughter first in any situation, or being worried about Sawyer being back. 

I didn't buy the connection between Sawyer or Reena. At all. Not in the "before" or the "after". At most, Reena had a small crush on him. In the here and now, they had no chemistry and I just didn't feel it. It's not a love story, it's a convenience story. 

The before and the after didn't mesh up well. I felt like the before was way too prevalent in the story, and I was getting mostly useless information. I'll fully admit to skimming those sections. It interrupted the flow of the now, and didn't make for any character development. The ending was incredibly rushed; the last few pages left the impression of an absolute scramble for the author to wrap it up.

Some of the writing is incredibly odd, in what I think is an attempt to sound poetic. Things like:

"He smells the same, is the first thing I notice, like bar soap and things that grow in the ground." 
What does that even mean? Flowers? Onions? Worms? BODIES???


"He smiled, and I could feel it in my teeth."

Needless to say, this was not the book for me, and I wouldn't recommend it. The storyline had so much potential, but the book had no redeeming qualities. This was my overall experience:

 photo 0f2377eb990b35cdc92f9eca140f4dd0_zpsk94phlvg.gif


Rating: 2 stars
Genre: Young adult (does not read like new adult)contemporary romance
POV: 1st person
Steam/sexual content: Non-exsistent 
Series: Standalone
Cliffhanger: No
HEA: Yes
Length: 389 pages
My own copy

- The Bibliophile Babe


  1. Well, I've added and removed this book from my TBR several times, and you just convinced me not to bother with it. I'm sorry it was such a dud!

  2. Uh yeah. This book is made all sorts of mess. I didn't like that she didn't really hold that long of a grudge with the guy. I mean, come on! and it does not tell me a step by step instructions on HOW TO LOVE. Lol.

  3. His smile in her teeth ?! LOL !! Love your review - and the James Bond picture :)

  4. I think this is not for me. I am not a fan of contemporary YA or NA anyway and both the MCs soudn annoying. Thanks for the heads up.

  5. "Flowers? Onions? Worms? BODIES???" That made me laugh <3

  6. You are generous. I don't think I would have finished this one. Everything that bothers you with this one would bother me so... nope. Don't think this one is for me. Brilly review!

  7. I have to feel the connection which apparently wasn't there. So sorry this disappointed and I give you credit for finishing.

  8. That is too bad... By the description it has great potential. I was going to add it to my TBR then I read your review. Woo... You saved me! Thanks!

  9. I agree the book is pretty. It would be why I would pick it up. But the characters sounds pretty awful. Thanks for the honest review and saving me the trouble!!

  10. Sounds like this book is a mess. I had thought about reading it but I think I've seen mostly negative reviews.