How to Love by Katie Cotugno

How to Love by Katie Cotugno
Balzer + Bray | Hardcover, 389 pages
Publication Date: October 1st, 2013
New Adult
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Do not be fooled. This is not a beautiful love story. It’s harsh, unapologetic and just…not fun. It’s also not a step-by-step instructions on how to handle all the emotional warfare a person would face when they fall in love (as the title subtly implies). It will not teach you how to mend a broken heart. It doesn’t even teach you how to forgive; it tells you to let bygones be bygones without a single thought to how that person almost broke you.

One thing you would realize, however, is that sometimes, regardless of how shitty that person treated you, you know deep inside that you’ve done each other a favour. 

Thus, is the ugly kind of love between Serena and Sawyer.

I am tempted to rant; but I shall refrain. I have waited an eternity for this book. I read it as soon as I got it in my grabby little hands. And why wouldn’t I want to read it? It sounded so good despite my inkling that reading it will put me through an emotional grinder.  See, I knew it was going to be one of those reads. Pretty book, pretty packaging…but the inside? But I’ve always been a fan of romances where one somehow walks away for whatever reason. I imagine how he or she would grovel to get the love of their lives back. I was salivating for that moment when they finally reunite and when Sawyer finally gets his comeuppance; when Serena tells him all the ways that he’d fu*ked up and what he needed to do to get back in her graces. Well, that was a disappointment and a half.
Sawyer was a problematic kid to begin with; but becomes impossibly so when it was compounded by a certain event that made him even more unbearable to take.  He was a user who clung on to Serena because she’s the only thing that was normal in his life at the time. He was immature, selfish and a total dick. I’m sorry, there’s just no way around it. I could’ve liked him if he grew up a bit but even after he comes back there was no growth and development with his character at all. He was the same selfish person who thinks everything should be handed to him easy. 
The same could be said for Serena. The numerous “shut up!” when she didn’t want to listen to Sawyer just annoyed me to heavens. What are you, fourteen? She got pregnant at 16; three years later, time and experience didn’t give this girl a level of maturity you would expect from someone who’s been through so much. The author failed to distinguish the before and after – there was no sense that they’ve changed. But perhaps I’m expecting too much. Can I honestly say that a person’s level of maturity should improve in three years? Maybe not. All things considered though, these two were the same kids as they were before and after they had their child.

There were a lot of unfinished businesses here; Sawyer’s parents, for example. I wanted them to apologize to Serena. I wanted them to admit that they were sanctimonious hypocrites who looked down at Serena for getting pregnant at 16. They didn’t even acknowledge the fact that it takes two people to make a baby and that their son has a hand (er, so to speak) in it. They ignored and pretended Serena and baby Hannah didn’t exist until after Sawyer showed up. Please. 

Whatever happened to Sawyer when he left wasn’t addressed either. Nor the reason why he left. The plot wasn’t tidy and the ending? Bah.

Overall, this book wasn’t bad. I supposed it’s okay. But for someone who’ve waited for a long time, and had expected so much, it was such a disappointment. Sucks to be me, I guess.