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Everyone Needs a Shelby

This is a book review of How to Love by Katie Cotugno.

Quick Facts

Author: Katie Cotugno
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Genre: Fiction, Young adult romance?
Main Characters: Reena Montero & Sawyer LeGrande
Number of Pages: 400
SJ Rating: 51%

The Synopsis

Reena Montero, the daughter of a very conservative Catholic family, had life planned out—a dream of graduating high school a year early to escape her Florida town and the intense expectations of her father. But what happens to her dream when Sawyer LeGrande, the perceptive bad boy full of secrets, enters the picture? What happens when he disappears and resurfaces (after Reena had their child) with a promise of permanency?

The Good

We jump straight into the story, which I appreciate. I’m definitely not a fan of books with slow starts.

Shelby is my favorite thing about this book. Her saying “‘Super-Sperm Sawyer'” was one of my favorite moments of the entire read.

Considering she was Reena’s labor coach, though she was technically studying for medical school, Shelby is the realest best friend there could ever be. Shelby made sure Reena went back into the education system after Hannah was born to continue working on her future. She’s also the only one who is actually funny and seems to be one of the only ones that isn’t described as having dark hair. Even during their argument, Shelby’s reasoning for being mad at Reena makes her a great friend.

The Bad

Where do I begin?

Some of the dialogue is a little… weird. Like when Sawyers says, “I want to meet that baby of yours.” I didn’t know how to feel about this; it sounded like a mix of an old man and just plain creepy.

The way Reena goes about describing the car accident is more than a little harsh. It could be the way she processes grief, because everyone processes it differently, but still… Something about the consistent use of the phrase “the baby” instead of “my baby” makes it seem like Hannah is an object Reena doesn’t really want but has to deal with.

There’s lots of unsmooth back and forth time jumps like People We Meet on Vacation, which I’m starting to dislike about as much as I dislike third person pov.

For the technical writing aspect, there’s some weird errors with punctuation throughout, especially in the beginning.

Lastly, something about the nickname Princess is very… cringe.

The Overall

This is the first book I’ve read with the teen mom scenario, and honestly, I don’t think I vibed with Reena. She was irritated and angry and defensive most of the book, which eventually made her annoying.

There were no sparks or tingly sensations when I read their first kiss in the Before; my mind could only focus on Sawyer being a cheater. Sawyer is the ideal bad boy, but as well-written as he is, he’s not my favorite.

I think this book would’ve been better if the entire first half was Before and the second half was After, and a prologue at the beginning that talks about the moment Sawyer comes back would be a better set up for this particular plot.

Long story short: I’m never reading this book again.

Next book to be read and reviewed: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

“‘You want your hot but degenerate father to take you to Disney World and stuff, don’t you?'”

– Shelby

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