November 11. 2013
by: Katie Cotugno
Blurb ~ 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?
In this breathtaking debut, Katie Cotugno weaves together the story of one couple falling in love—twice.
My ReviewLet me start by saying how much I thought I would love this book, how much I wanted to love it. But as each chapter passed I began to hate the characters more and more. And not just one, both Serena and Sawyer are immature nimrods.
I’m usually a sucker for a baby story. Considering this was also about rekindling an old friendship/flame, maybe my sights were just set too high. Even many of my Goodreads friends loved this book, but I just did not. Then again each book is not for everyone so if you're going to read this I wish you a much more enjoyable ride than the one I was one :)
“I almost turn around, just cut my losses and go- I’m still angry with him from earlier, absolutely, but that’s not the whole story, not by a long shot… Just standing near him I’m hit with that familiar sear of frustration and shame. For a second I’m sixteen again, pregnant and hopeless, every careful plan for my future scattered like hayseed in a dry wind.”-Serena
Serena started out very likable for me. She’s a single mom, working her butt off in her parents’ restaurant to support herself and her baby. When Sawyer struts back in she puts on her big girl panties and insists she won’t give in to him. Since their parents are and have been friends for so long, Serena has known Sawyer since they were children. But they never really hung out with each other.
For years Serena harbored a hardcore crush on Sawyer. But all this time she never noticed how severely F**cked up he was. Sure he’s your average man-whore, but let’s just say he has very low morals, no work ethic and addiction issues. (I still can’t understand why he was such a way. His home life was nothing short of giving and perfect, never wanting for anything or having abusive neglectful parents.)
“The hideous thing is this: I want to forgive him. Even after everything, I do. A baby before my seventeenth birthday and a future just as lonely as the surface of the moon and still just the sight of him feels like a homecoming, like a song I used to know but somehow forgot.”-Serena
In high school, Serena’s best friend starts dating Sawyer. The two are not indiscreet with their relationship either and poor Serena has to witness it whilst still loving Sawyer from afar. From here on out everything just went haywire.
“I have no idea what I would have done, Reena. You know what I was like. I was screwed up. That’s why I left to begin with… But I’m here now.”-Sawyer
Sawyer comes home having done everything Serena wanted for her future. Honestly aside from being ‘screwed’ up as he called it, which he most certainly was, that’s his only reason. And in three years he never called or contacted a single person. The two never really sit down and have the ‘we made a baby talk’, at least not in a what should we do now sort of way. Serena gives up. And I mean that literally. She was ready to graduate a whole year early and was admitted to college but when she becomes pregnant she gives up. She doesn’t even try any other options like assisted living off campus. Nothing, she gives up. Everything is so jumbled, these kids need therapy and direction so flippin bad, it’s not even funny.
Within no time, Serena is giving in to Sawyer. It was as if he was magically hypnotizing her and everything in the past ceased to matter. Even their ‘barely there’ relationship from high school seemed fake and a very ill attempt at a teenage romance. Serena is barely happy with him, but one look and she’s putty. With Sawyer being such a douche, I just wanted to smack Serena for falling for his shit. He claims to have noticed her during high school but until his girlfriend says she likes him, he goes on screwing every other slutty girl he could find.
"I’d had sex with Sawyer LeGrande, all right-I’d given him something I couldn’t get back-and now he was done, game over, thanks for playing. It was gross. It was predictable. It hurt like nothing else in my life. Weeks passed. Life hummed on.”-Serena
Ugh, I could go on forever. I have this book marked up the wazoo and all are bad marks. I just did not like it one bit and as it went on it just got worse. His behavior is always lamely excused. After they have sex the first time and he disappears for weeks, none of that matters since it’s not like he was ignoring her, he was in jail….. I did enjoy the before and after POV shifts but seeing as each is still from Serena only it’s very one-sided. Perhaps with Sawyer’s side of things I would have been more in his corner but everything from his behavior to attitude just turned me off. Add to that his lying, prescription medication habit and going to skeevy parties and leaving Serena stranded. Real boyfriend of the year material, especially since he’s a couple years older than her, but only half as mature. My favorite line of his that only made me love him more is when Reena tells him to not peer pressure her and he responds with,“I’m not trying to do anything to you. I just think everybody should try everything once… So don’t act like I’m a piece of shit when I do it.”I’m sure there are people out there who would enjoy this book, but sadly I am not one of them. Both the characters are idiots, plain and simple. I mean Serena has sex with him out of nowhere when they’re not even really dating, since she can never really tell what they are, as if her virginity meant so little to her, because it was with Sawyer. Ugh, gag me. I’ll stop though.
This was not for me, but if you like immature high school stories about adult situations these characters are no way equipped to deal with, then this is for you.
On a side note, I found her friend Shelby and brother Aaron, the most likable characters in the book. Even they get screwed by the tumultuous relationship that is Serena and Sawyer. It’s too bad Serena doesn’t realize how amazing her friend and brother are. She hurts them both though and just hopes they’ll ‘get over it,’ since she didn’t mean it to hurt anyone. No comment!