I can be such a girl. I gravitate to first-love-lost-tales like a moth to a flame. I’d like to think that I’ve advanced in the stages of a lifelong reader, but whenever one of these young adult novels like Gayle Forman’s Just One Day or Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty surfaces on my radar, I’m right back at reading for autobiographical experiences and little 17-year-old me has her heart broken and repaired over and over again.
What I love about Katie Cotugno’s How to Love is how the author grapples with the reality of first loves. Recently, I came across a video on Pinterest where Laurie Halse Anderson is talking about her newest novel, The Impossible Knife of Memory. She discusses her approach of writing an adolescent love story, as not necessarily one of romantic love, but familial love and seperation, finding an adopted family in a group of friends, and then finally that first romance. How to Love captures the dynamic interrelationship between all of these spheres: family, friends, and romance.