The how and the why was gifted to me in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Book: The How and The Why
Author: Cynthia Hand
Publication date: 5 November 2019
Rating: 3 STARS
A poignant exploration of family and the ties that bind, perfect for fans of Far From the Tree, from New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand.
Today Melly had us writing letters to our babies…
Cassandra McMurtrey has the best parents a girl could ask for. They’ve given Cass a life she wouldn’t trade for the world. She has everything she needs—except maybe the one thing she wants. Like, to know who she is. Where she came from. Questions her adoptive parents can’t answer, no matter how much they love her.
But eighteen years ago, someone wrote Cass a series of letters. And they may just hold the answers Cass has been searching for.
Alternating between Cass’s search for answers and letters from the pregnant teen who gave her up for adoption, this voice-driven narrative is the perfect read for fans of Nina LaCour and Jandy Nelson.
Contains: racism, adoption, mentions of suicide, mental illness, drug use, addiction, alcoholism and abortion.
Representation: People of colour, adoption and homosexuality
Quote: “ It’s completely possible to be surrounded by people and still totally alone”
I enjoyed reading this book but it didn’t move me in the way that I expected. I connected with the character Cassandra a lot but not in the way you think. No I wasn’t adopted but my mum was also very ill and in hospital a lot so I knew how she felt and the fear she had.
Throughout this story we follow Cassandra’s point of view and we also get to read the letters that Cassandra’s biological mother wrote to her unborn child. I found this part of the book really compelling and funny because she is so funny and very sarcastic. The letters were definitely my favourite part of the story.
Within the How and The Why there was a lot of crying and strong emotions which makes sense but this didn’t move me in the way that I thought it would.
Throughout this story we follow a lot of relationships which were really strong and I enjoyed watching these relationships grow and blossom. Cassandra and her parents relationship made me kind of jealous because they had such an awesome cute, caring relationship. I could see how much love they had for each other. It was so cute.
We also get to see a really close friendship with Cassandra and her best friend and follow their ups and downs just like friendships have and we watch a new friendship grow with a new person starting in their year.
The ending of this story seemed a bit convienent to me and left it open eded which I hate in some books.
All in all this was an okay book, I enjoyed reading it but I didn’t connect a hell of a lot with the main plot because obviosly this story was really targeted for me.
About The Author
Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for teens, including the UNEARTHLY trilogy, THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE, MY LADY JANE and MY PLAIN JANE (with fellow authors Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows), THE AFTERLIFE OF HOLLY CHASE, and the upcoming novels THE HOW AND THE WHY and MY CALAMITY JANE (also with Ashton and Meadows). Before turning to writing for young adults, she studied literary fiction and earned both an M.F.A. and a Ph.D. in fiction writing. She currently resides in Boise, Idaho, with her husband, two cats, one crazy dog, two kids, and mountain of books.