How to Love
by Katie Cotugno
My feelings about this book are pretty odd. See, it's supposed to be a love story...and I really liked the book, and yet I spent the majority of the book hating the romance (and I mean really, really hating it).Summary: 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.
Reena has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember. But he’s never noticed her, until one day… he does. They fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town, leaving a devastated – and pregnant – Reena behind.
Three years later and there’s a new love in Reena’s life: her daughter Hannah. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again.
After everything that’s happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer again?
I had a lot of issues with the male love interest and their relationship in general (more on that in a second), but...well, I liked the book anyway? And I didn't find myself wishing it was different even though it was infuriating to read? And that's unusual for me, because usually if I have issues with a relationship in a book then I want it to be different and it can make me not like a book, but with this one I was kind of...content with being infuriated.
I think maybe it's because it was kind of realistic. We don't get to choose how we feel or who we feel for, we make stupid mistakes sometimes, and relationships aren't perfect...some of them are really, really, really far from being perfect. And this book showed that really well, so I liked it, even though I wanted to knock Reena and Sawyers heads together (him for being an ass, and her for being daft enough to fall for him).
Now...the problem I had with Sawyer and his relationship with Reena was that, for lack of a better term, he was a complete asshat. Seriously, he was such an entitled douchebag the majority of the time. He had a pretty good life, and yet he took it for granted and threw it all away and he's one of those people that don't seem to fully take responsibility for their screw ups. He expects to be able to hurt people that care about him then waltz back in as if he hadn't done something awful--he acts as if trust and forgiveness should be given just because he wants it, without him having to earn it first.
He is awful in the Before chapters, and he's not much better in the After chapters because he never seems to properly apologize, he just acts like people are just toys he can throw away and pick back up again whenever he feels like it. Anything that comes close to an apology from him is mostly just him shifting blame onto Reena instead (and yet she apologized to him most of the time for getting mad at him and saying things he 100% deserved). And Reena...well, I liked her, but I liked her a lot more when she wasn't with him or obsessing over him.
In the last few chapters, I did warm up a bit to their relationship, but I'm not sure whether it's because I had started to like them together (he was good with his kid, but I still maintain he hadn't really made up for being an ass) or if it's just because I like happy endings and even in romances that have couples I don't like, I still find myself rooting for that happy ending.
I don't really have much else to say about the book. Like I said, my feelings about it are odd--this review probably seems more negative than positive, but the thing is, I liked it and I even liked that I didn't like Sawyer...and that probably doesn't make much sense.
I'd rate it 4 stars out of 5 (it would be lower, if I was judging it as a romance novel/love story, because the romance was like...Fifty Shades of Gray on the scale of how much I disliked them as a couple, and Romeo and Juliet on the scale of how unconvinced I was that they were in love not lust). But yeah, it was a really good book--addictive, never bored me.