Book Recommendation: How to Love

photoI saw How to Love: A Novel at NEIBA13 last week, and something about the cover just grabbed my attention. The story inside more than delivered, keeping me up past midnight as I raced through the pages.

Reena is a girl in love with a boy named Sawyer, and the book alternates chapters between before and after she has his baby.  The story is fast-moving and urgent, and captures the feelings of alienation, fear, hope and doubt that come with the transition from high school to the world beyond as well as anything I’ve read.

From the Booklist review:

“The before: responsible 16-year-old Reena pushes to graduate from high school early so that she can get the hell out of Florida and attend Northwestern. But Sawyer LeGrande, a boy who has been in Reena’s life forever—and who she has loved forever—finally notices her. After a few months of dating, troubled Sawyer disappears and Reena discovers she is pregnant. The after: Sawyer returns after several years away, and it turns out he still stirs something in Reena that can’t be ignored. The “Before” and “After” chapters alternate and can be summed up by the following: “I didn’t understand what I had with Sawyer: I couldn’t figure out how he could make me so happy and so miserable all at once.”

I read this novel in two big gulps over a weekend. Highly recommend if you’re looking to escape into a compelling story.