Before: Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: as natural as breathing, as endless as time. But he’s never seemed to notice that Reena even exists until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town without a word, leaving a devastated-and pregnant-Reena behind.
After: Almost three years have passed, and there’s a new love in Reena’s life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena’s gotten used to being without Sawyer, and she’s finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. Reena doesn’t want anything to do with him, though she’d be lying if she said Sawyer’s being back wasn’t stirring something in her. After everything that’s happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?
Description taken from Goodreads.
Of course she can really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande.
You know what I would have really respected Katie Cotugno if she had done? Not let Reena fall back in love with Sawyer. I would be shocked, but I would probably be laughing the entire way. Not because I think it’s funny, not because I don’t believe in love or anything like that, I just assumed from the beginning that there was no way Reena would ever end up not loving him, and it’s so blatantly obvious throughout the entire story that I couldn’t bring myself to ever think of it as something different.
Looking back on my first time reading it, I think what got to me the most was the sheer predictability of the plot. In fact, a lot of YA contemporary romance books are like that. It’s just the execution of it all, the way you present the predictability and the way you work with it that changes everything, and I just couldn’t find out how to love this book.
There were two main reasons why the plot didn’t work for me the way it was executed. Reason 1 was Reena, the main character and heroine of all of this.
Reena wasn’t annoying or unlikable. In fact, I quite liked Reena. I just hated the way she told this story, because throughout the entire story it feels like she’s in a perpetual state of loving Sawyer and for 3/4 of this book trying to lie to herself about it. Even during that time that she’s mad at Sawyer though, there’s something about her that doesn’t truly convince me that she doesn’t want him around. Even after all this time, she’s ready and willing to spend time with him when he invites her along somewhere.
Oh yeah, and I mention she has a boyfriend? She does.
And Reena brings me to my second reason why the plot presentation here didn’t work for me.
Instalove. So maybe it technically isn’t instalove, because Reena and Sawyer were in love before, but I’m counting it as instalove, because there are a ton of sub-issues I had with the romance here. Almost as soon as Sawyer gets back, Reena’s out kissing him.
And she lies to her boyfriend about it.
But then after the instalove, there’s issues such as a meaningless love. Reena claims to love Sawyer from the very beginning, but this love leads her to let Sawyer kiss her while he was the boyfriend of her ex-best friend.
What is the appeal to cheating? Don’t we all agree that cheating is a no?
And then there’s the other part of their meaningless love. Reena never goes over why exactly she loves Sawyer. There’s no depth to their love. Reena claims to have always loved it, but explanation never goes more than skin deep.
Despite than the romance here and the plot, I did enjoy this story. I liked Reena and many of the supporting characters. I did have issues with decisions they made or opinions they had, but it was all trivial things. I actually didn’t find Sawyer at all a likable kind of character, he was mostly just dull for me and his contribution to the romance was minimal. Overall, I just don’t think this story was for me. I’m really picky with my contemporary, mostly because it’s not my favorite genre. I do think that contemporary lovers should definitely give this a try. In terms of prose and pace, Cotugno does a fabulous job with her writing and the general show of the ups and downs of any relationships is good. 2 stars.
I don’t think this was how the song was intended, but this would be the theme song for how I feel about this book. Take it in a literal sense, but fill in don’t want every time she says want.
pg count for the hardback: 389