Hello again Dear Readers, and Happy Sunday to you all!
I’ve finally finished Katie Cotugno’s “young adult” novel How To Love, and it’s time for a little rave fest! I put the term “young adult” in quotations because I actually think Cotugno’s novel is written like a more adult piece of fiction, and I immediately passed it off to my mother after finishing it because I know she will absolutely love it! It is a mature novel, its themes and ideas are sophisticatedly articulated, and I think that for a young adult novel, it tackles a lot of serious issues with depth and remarkable insight. I’m a huge fan of the young adult fiction genre, even now into my twenties, but I will admit that you can often tell when a book is written for a younger audience because of its style and the way the prose is constructed. I definitely could NOT tell that How To Love was intended for a teenaged audience, though, because it is written in a more poignant manner than most of the works of adult fiction I’ve read recently…but more on this in a second.
I have to start by saying that the premise of the novel is not altogether extraordinary – it’s about a teenage girl who becomes pregnant and must raise her child alone. This sort of storyline is relatively common (we’ve all seen it played out in movies and TV shows numerous times), so Reena’s story and her troubled relationship with her baby’s father, Sawyer LeGrande, is not something ridiculously unique. The true power of How To Love comes instead from how it is written, from how Reena’s narrative voice functions and how creative her manner of speech and thought is.
I adore words! That much is probably obvious from the fact that I’ve created a blog about books. But what I love most about words is when they are used in an unexpected manner…when they are combined in ways that the reader wouldn’t have thought of or wouldn’t have encountered before. That’s what I enjoyed most about How To Love – so many of the descriptions Cotugno provides, through Reena’s narrative voice, are unlike any descriptions I’ve ever encountered. If you take a look back on my Twitter page, you’ll find some of these very descriptions. Furthermore, when Cotugno discusses a sentiment or an idea that is more common, she does so with such eloquence, and her prose is so beautifully shaped and paced. For example, here are some quotes from my #JNGReads posts for this week which illustrate how graceful Cotugno’s writing style is:
“like something I’d lived near all my life but never tried.”
“‘I like him so stupidly much.’”
“I loved how I was still, every day, learning him.” – How To Love, Katie Cotugno
Yes, some of these passages describe feelings that aren’t necessarily out of this world or surprising, but I find that the way Cotugno allows her character Reena to express her feelings so explicitly and with such heart truly inspiring. I’d like to be the kind of author who is constantly finding new ways to portray age-old ideas – and I think Cotugno does just that.
I would definitely recommend this novel to just about anyone. It left an impression on me, and I was eager to read it and return to the lovely prose as often as possible!
Sidenote: The countdown to my Disney World adventure is on – 6 more days until my family and I leave! Check out my Twitter page all this week for tons of Disney quotes! I’m getting sooo excited!
Have a great Sunday Everyone!
Girl with a Green Heart