New Book – How to Love by Katie Cotugno


Publishing year: 2013

The new book is about love and teenagers/young people.

It is an account in the first person which alternates between before and after. The main character and narrator is Serena, or Reena, who we learn has been in love with Sawyer LaGrande for years, and in the past at some point they became a couple. Then one day Sawyer left, and then Reena discovered she was pregnant. Now twoyears later Sawyer is back, and Reena has a sweet baby called Hannah.

In Before we learn that Reena had a best friend, Allie. They’ve been best friends since they were very young, but then Allie starts hanging out with other friends and also starts dating Sawyer, the boy Reena liked. Allie doesn’t understand Reena, because Reena is a bit wary of new people. Allie doesn’t want to be held back, and she decides to drop Reena. the girls fall out, and Reena becomes solitary. The only friend she has is Shelby, a newcomer to the school. Reena works in his father’s restaurant, a business co-owned by Sawyer’s parents as well. One night even though he’s dating Allie, Sawyer asks Reena to hang out with him, and they share a kiss. That night Allie dies in an accident, and things become hard for Reena and Sawyer. Sawyer changes, decides not to go to college, and starts hanging out with a seedy music group. Yet, months later he goes to Reena again, and they kiss for the second time.

In this part what I find interesting is the friendship between Reena and Allie. I like Reena’s loyalty and stability. She hasn’t changed and is very certain of what she is and wants. Allie is allured by the new lights shining around her. She wants to have new friends… maybe cooler friends, and I guess she knew Reena liked Sawyer, and it was easier to date him if she exiled Reena from her life. I think this is something that is common in teenagers. Some are more daring than others, want to experience new things, and in some cases that thirst for new experiences might lead to negative consequences. It happened to Allie this time.

In “After” Reena is a mother to Hannah. She couldn’t go to college because of her new responsibilities. Now she goes to Community College, which is something she isn’t very fond of. She also had to give up on her dreams to travel. Hannah is her whole world now. She’s also dating Shelby’s brother Aaron, but I have the feeling she isn’t quite in love with him. Now Sawyer is back and wants to be a part of Hannah’s life. Reena is torn because she’s angry with Sawyer because of the way he left, but I think she is still in love with him, and she’s obviously drawn to him. I hope she isn’t hurt again, especially since she has a baby girl to think of now. Reena’s father is a peculiar character, and I’m not sure why he is so cold towards her. Reena says he didn’t speak to her for many months when she first told him she was pregnant, and now that Sawyer is back, he acts as if Reena is to blame. I’m not sure what is going on, but I guess there’s something more I need to learn from Reena’s account to understand the whole picture.


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