October 31, 2013

How to Love by Katie Cotugno

How to Love

written by Katie Cotugno
published on October 1st 2013 by Balzer + Bray
389 pages
Young Adult/New Adult/Realistic/Coming of Age/Contemporary
other books by author: None (yet...)


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 a 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?

Oh, shout-out to books with lovely covers!
Seriously, and while we're talking about How to Love, which has a very simple yet SO awesome book cover (Don't you want to own the book just so you can shelve it at home and stare at it anytime you want?) here here, a full first star for Katie Cotugno's debut novel.

The second star goes to Serena, or Reena in short. This girl is basically a good girl who happens to be unlucky. Just having a shitty bestfriend is already enough to make your life uncomfotable, yeah? But that's not only what Reena has to deal with, because later her boyfriend suddenly disappears, then she finds out that she is pregnant with the said-boyfriend's baby. Uh oh.

But this girl has some pretty admirable characteristics. Reena is strong, no doubt. With a witty personality that makes her so fun to be around. Being a mom at 16 is never easy (and really, this girl has been through A LOT. She comes from a very religious family so being pregnant in Reena's case was pretty much unforgivable), but Reena did a good job with taking care of baby Hannah! The only problem I have with her is her inability to resist Sawyer, which makes her seems childish and indecisive at times. I was disappointed to read about the end of her relationship with Aaron (even though I've seen it coming), because let's be honest here, Aaron is obviously the better option!

“The hideous thing is this: I want to forgive him. Even after everything, I do. A baby before my 17th birthday and a future as lonely as the surface of the moon and still the sight of him feels like a homecoming, like a song I used to know but somehow forgot.” 

Teenage pregnancy is not actually my favorite subject to read, since there will (of course) be so much angst and all. But all the reviews I've stumbled upon before reading How to Love were mostly positive, and I can see why. How to Love was a very enganging read. Katie Cotugno doesn't offer a new angle on seeing this unwanted pregnancy problem, but she presents it raw, honest, and real. She's so good at describing emotions, making me (as the reader) feel as much as Reena feels. We can easily understand Reena's desperation, her anger, her resentment toward everyone who treated her badly since the thing happened, her family included, who didn't exactly do their job at being a strong support system when Reena needed them the most. The part where she finally exploded at their family dinner was my favorite! It's unhealthy for her to just keep all the emotions inside so I was like 'YES YES YES you go girl!' when she lashed out in front of everyone. That moment was epic and the way Katie Cotugno describes it... Ugh, all the feels! Third star for this point.

The story was told in before and after parts, but I prefer reading all the afters, most of the time I just skimmed the befores... I couldn't bring my self to really like Sawyer as a character. Aside from being manipulative toward Reena sometimes, there were very minimal explanation on why he did the things he did on his bad boy days (Also, the drug problems? Why why why why WHY? I need a backstory!), that's why I think his part of the story kinda lacks of depth. The after version of Sawyer was so much better, I love him and Reena together, even though I still think he doesn't deserve that girl *shrug*

In short, How to Love isn't perfect, but to read the book was worth it. For a debut novel, How to Love was enganging, enjoyable and quite a page-turning one. I love Katie Cotugno's writing style. Did I mention how the dialogues are so realistic? (Its exactly the way people would talk in real life!) and I will put her on my radar so that her next books will not be missed!

October 13, 2013

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


written by Rainbow Rowell
published September 10th 2013 by St. Martin's Press
genre Young Adult/Contemporary/Romance
433 pages
read in English/Indonesian
other books by the author Attachments, Eleanor & Park


Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .
But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone. For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories.

Reading Fangirl is an upsetting but thrilling experience.

Why? Because, honestly, it feels a lot like I was reading about my ownself. No, seriously. Cather is a carbon copy of middle grade Tirta! She's a closeted introvert, doesn't talk much in real life but of course talks a LOT on internet, an active participant in a fandom that takes up so much of her time, has this irrational fear about meeting new people and getting out of her comfort zone... Oh, hello, me, three or four years ago.

And this is what keeps making me frustrated when reading Fangirl. I dislike how Cather always seems to be negative toward such a simple action like going into the cafetaria with her roommate. Sometimes I want to yell at her for sulking and locking herself in her room all day, writing fanfiction and going over the internet ALL THE TIME, because hey Cath, I've been there, and while I agree that internet is the best invention ever in the world and people in the fandom are so much better than real life, but there's sooo much more to live out there! Believe me. Confidence and feeling comfortable with your ownself are not gained by shutting everyone outside you and your fandom, but by actually going out and experience things! (yea)

On the other hand, I sympathize a lot with Wren. These twin girls cope together and stay beside each other on the first years after their Mom left the family, but  as they grow older, Wren feels like she needs to get away from Cath (who knows too much of their family problem), she wants to be independent in her own way. While I do not support the smoking, partying, doing crazy stuffs with her new bestfriend, I can understand. All I see is a broken girl who needs to seek attention that she supposedly get from a mother. At least Wren isn't being negative about her surrounding or holds prejudice against other people.

“Do you think I absorbed all the impact? That when Mom left, it hit my side of the car? Fuck that, Wren. She left you, too."

"But it didn't break me. Nothing can break me unless I let it."

"Do you think Dad let it? Do you think he chose to fall apart when she left?"

"Yes!" Wren was shouting now. "And I think he keeps choosing. I think you both do. You'd rather be broken than move on.” 

Go Wren!


The romance is okay. Cath and Levi have some swoony moments and I'd love to find a boy like Levi to be a boyfriend! I love every part where Levi asked Cath to read her stories for him, and he's such a sweet guy for understanding how to cope with a girl like Cath. They're adorable together! The only problem is that at some parts I was annoyed because the story gets a little sidetracked by their lovey-dovey moments.

“It's okay if you're crazy," He said softly. 

"You don't even know-"
"I don't have to know," He said. "I'm rooting for you.” 

“You look so blindingly cute right now, I feel like I need to make a pinhole in a piece of paper just to look at you.”  (AWWWE)
Another good thing about Fangirl is the story actually tells so much more: not only romance, but also the dynamic of a family relationship. Cath and Wren's dad is such a strong man, raising TWO GIRLS alone at the same time. And then there's this side of Cath and Wren trying to adapt into college life, which I'm also experiencing at the moment, so I can relate a lot and it makes reading Fangirl become so much fun.

It's both refreshing and touching to know that there's an author who could fully understand of what it's like to be a devoted fangirl. Attending or streaming every premieres, getting excited over sneak peeks, writing or reading fanfictions, gathering with other people from the fandom, wearing a shirt with a quote from your fandom and feeling like you're baring yourself out to the world... And by so many positive reviews I read on the internet, I know that there are people who feel the same toward Fangirl, and that makes us united! It's always nice to know that people understand you.

In comparison to Rainbow Rowell's previous books, Attachments and Eleanor & Park, I feel sorry to say that Fangirl ended up in the third place. But I'd still recommend it to anyone (that anyone includes those who loves reading YA, those who are a fangirl themselves, those who are actively participate in a fandom, or else, you will LOVE this book!). Rainbow Rowell is an author that I've positively put in my auto-read list and her books are worth to read (at least once!)

October 07, 2013

Books I Need to Tackle Soon (AKA Tirta's Recent Book Haul)

Udah lama nggak posting book haul atau books to read, hihi. Kali ini mau pamer ah, beberapa. Berikut adalah buku-buku aku yang udah dibeli sejak beberapa bulan lalu tapi sampai sekarang masih numpuk dan nggak sabar menunggu untuk dibaca berikutnya:

I'm currently reading the book right now and have been enjoying it so far! Bukunya lama, terbitan tahun 2000, edisi bahasa Inggris. Aku beli hanya dengan harga 20k saja sewaktu lagi ada pameran buku murah di fakultasku beberapa hari lalu :D
(Ealah. Bukunya udah diterjemahin GPU, toh? Tapi aku nggak suka ah cover edisi Indonesianya yang pake muka asli orang. Ngerusak imajinasi, ahaha)

Nonfiksi. Aku sesekali suka beli buku sejenis ini, its good to keep me motivated. I've been following Mbak Ollie on Twitter for quite a long time and regularly check her Tumblr. She's inspiring!

Selesai baca buku kedua dari IQ84, aku bingung karena masih kepingin baca tulisan dari penulis yang sama tapi terjemahan buku ketiga belum terbit. Akhirnya aku putusin buat beli Norwegian Wood aja. Cuma entah kenapa baru beberapa halaman baca udah agak nggak nyaman... Akhirnya beralih ke buku-buku lain dulu, hehe.

Best buy! Ini juga 20k, belinya juga sama, di pameran buku murah sewaktu lagi ada acara Kulturfest 2013-nya anak Sastra Jerman. Seneng deh, jurusan-jurusan di fakultasku lumayan sering ngadain acara, dan tiap kali acara pasti ada lapak pameran buku murahnya :D

Yang sebenarnya udah lama dibeli, dari pertengahan bulan Juli kalau nggak salah. Tapi kemudian dia keselip di suatu tempat dan baru aku temuin belakangan ini. Karena belum dibaca akhirnya aku masukin book haul ini aja, deh. Bagusan mana sih antara An Abundance of Katherines sama Paper Towns, by the way?

Ini pinjem dari Sarah, murni karena penasaran sama tulisannya Jenny Han. Soalnya Aul pernah bilang trilogi yang The Summer I Turned Pretty itu bagus, tapi karena series itu ada love triangle-nya aku males baca. Kata Sarah yang ini juga bagus, sih. Aku juga lumayan penasaran sama upcoming book-nya Jenny yang To All the Boys I've Loved Before, judulnya apa banget (haha) tapi covernya bagus!

Diluar buku-buku di atas, antrian ebooks juga lumayan banyak yang masih ngantri. Dan seringnya malah yang ebooks itu duluan yang dibaca dibanding printed books ini, ehe he he. Belakangan jarang ke toko buku... Soalnya dua bulan ini lagi hectic banget awal-awal kuliah dan pergi ke toko buku bisa dibilang jadi semacam rare ocassion gitu buat aku, dan sekalinya mampir malah bingung mau beli buku apa :( Sekarang aku lagi baca Cinder-nya Marissa Meyer (ebook), ganti-gantian sama Just Friends.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer - Lagi baca. Ceritanya unik banget, fairytale retelling Cinderella tapi tokohnya cyborgs.
Major Crush by Jennifer Echols
Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover - Sekuel dari Hopeless, yang kata aku lebih bagus dari Slammed (Slammed udah diterjemahin Gramedia). Kali ini dari POV-nya Holder
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - YANG INI UDAH BACA! Tapi jujur bingung gimana mau bikin reviewnya....
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider - Udah baca! Seru, aku suka. Meskipun bete sama Cassidy.
The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes - Penasaran banget pengen baca ini tapi masih males menghadapi emotional heartfelt-nya hahaha
You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle
Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker
Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols - Baru baca sampe halaman 20-an dan entah kenapa berat banget buat dilanjutin.....
Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

Book haul ini aku submit ke Buying Monday Oktober, meme bulanan buat nunjukin book haul atau books to read-nya teman-teman di BBI. Rame nih makin banyak meme sama feature di BBI, yay!