This is a love story. But it’s not what you think. This is not a first kiss, or a first date. This is not love at first sight. This is a boy and a girl falling in messy, unpredictable, thrilling love. This is the complicated route to happiness that follows.
This is real. This is life. This is how to love.
Reena has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember. But he’s never noticed her, until one day… he does. They fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town, leaving a devastated – and pregnant – Reena behind.
Three years later and there’s a new love in Reena’s life: her daughter Hannah. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. After everything that’s happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer again?
I had heard great things about this before I picked it up. I already knew I had to like it because I can't resist a good realistic love story and this promised just that, and more. It tells of the development of Reena and Sawyer's relationship, both before and after he left. The spilt between 'before' and 'after' was very effective. I'm not talking a split right down the middle, like Looking For Alaska, I'm talking alternate chapters. Sometimes I thought it would get annoying but the slow drip of information was addictive, like putting pieces of a puzzle together.
The way both of them had changed between the 'before' and 'after' was very plain to see, and considering how much had happened, not all that shocking. But I liked the drastic, visible changes to both of them because it showed that they were now ready for each other, ready for that sort of relationship. Although, typically, it took a while. Reena and her family had to come to terms with Sawyer inexplicably disappearing and then just as suddenly returning, while coping with a new addition to the family.
I really disliked Sawyer in the 'before' part; he was so ridiculously selfish and foolish, especially when dealing with his feelings for Reena. Although his rebellious streak was hinted at, Reena really had to get to know him 'before' to get rid of her rose-tinted glasses and see him for the self-destructive moron that he was. And I was rather proud of her when she stood up for herself when Sawyer was being stupid. As expected, it was having Hannah at such a young age that changed Reena. It made her mature and realistic to the point of a bit bitter. I liked Reena in both 'before' and 'after' but I think I preferred in the 'after': having Hannah made her wise beyond her years but at the same time she was still silly and inexperienced and didn't know what she was doing with her love life.
I adored this story. I honestly have no idea why, because it was sad and frustrating and at many points I really did not like many characters, but it was so easy to read, addictive and most importantly: realistic. Honestly, I fell in love with Reena and Sawyer's love story, as tangled as it was.
Published 3rd October 2013 by Quercus. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.