How To Love
by Katie Cotugno
Published: 3rd October 2013
This is a love story.
But it’s not what you think. This is not a first kiss, or a first date. This is not love at first sight.
This is a boy and a girl falling in messy, unpredictable, thrilling love. This is the complicated route to happiness that follows. This is real. This is life.
This is how to love.
After I’d finished Trouble by Non Pratt I went on the hunt for more novels that dealt with teen pregnancy. I found this novel by searching through the Goodread’s lists and then I researched it a little more by finding Booktube videos. I saved it in my wishlist and then eventually purchased it. I’m sad to say that this sat on my shelf for a few months before I finally got round to picking it up. I am kicking myself now that I didn’t read it as soon as I’d bought it.
I’m not sure why teenage pregnancy is a topic that interests me. I was never a teenage mum, nor had a close friend that was (there was a couple of girls in school, but I didn’t know them). I remember enjoying watching 16 and Pregnant on MTV when I was younger, and I think it was more that I was interested to see how girls that young are able to cope with such a big responsibility. When I finished reading this book, I didn’t have strong sense that this was a book that highlights the struggles off a young mother, nor really glamorises it. I suppose I should have gathered that from the blurb, but researched had said that it was a major part of the plot. It almost feels like the pregnancy was just a pivoting point, and is not really the most important part of this novel.
This novel is about the relationship between Reena and Sawyer. I’ll begin by discussing the structure of the novel before I discuss the characters – I promise there is a reason behind the madness.
How To Love is a book of two halves. Before and after – I mentioned previously the pregnancy is the pivoting point, but in actual fact there is another reason that this moment is pivotal. Each chapter alternates between before and after to an interesting result. I think that this novel wouldn’t have been as engaging, and exciting if it was in chronological order. Writing the novel out of order, as such, created a lot more suspense and mystery. I was dying to find out what happened between the characters that led them to the point in the present, and then I wanted to know how that would affect them.
Moving on to the characters then, I waited to discuss the characters until after I’d explained a little about the plot because just like the plot, the characters are also in two halves – before and after. In the before chapters, Reena is a little more reserved and she presents herself differently to the Reena in the after chapters. I personally preferred this character in the after chapters because she’s a very strong woman, and she does things her own way. There was one thing I wasn’t impressed by, and that was that Reena pushed away a lot of the people around her in the after chapters (you’ll understand if you read it), this bugged me a lot but I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll leave that there. I liked Sawyer in both before, and after – and I can see him being a book boyfriend to lots of younger girls out there.
Overall, I was happy with this book. I went into looking for a story about a teenage mother, but came out of it with something else – and thankfully I wasn’t disappointed. I thought this was a good read, and I got through it in a couple of sittings. It was one that I didn’t want to put down, because I fell in love with the characters and the mystery.
Definitely worth a read, especially if you like Trouble by Non Pratt but want more a romantic element.