The How & the Why
by Cynthia Hand
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: November 5th, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
My Rating: 

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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.
A young girl starts to look for her birth mother.
I had no idea what to expect going into The How & They Why and I was pleasantly surprised. This is one of my new favorite books for many reasons. Let me gush about this amazing novel. I cried, I laughed, I smiled almost the entire time reading the book. I could not put it down. It was so good that I read it in about two sittings. This book was very easy to devour. The How & The Why is all about discovering yourself and family. Everyone needs to pick up this wonderful book.

The book is told in two alternating perspectives. One is the main character, Cass who was given up for adoption as a baby. The second, Cass's birth mother at the age of sixteen right before she gives Cass up for adoption. It's heartwrenching but also extremely interesting to read her birth mother's perspective. How hard it was choosing to give Cass up so she would have a better life. I cannot imagine how hard that would have been making that decision. You immediately begin to care about these characters. The book really knows how to capture your heart. 

I loved the closeness of Cass and her adoptive mother and father. How the author showed that blood doesn't make a family. Blood also doesn't make a parent. Throughout the whole novel, the mother is in the hospital waiting for a heart transplant. This only added on to my tears. Reading the parts of her adoptive mom sick made me weep. I just felt so much for these characters.

Then add on the fact that Cass is a theatre nerd and there are so many theatre and music references throughout the book... It made me extremely giddy inside. I grew up doing musicals myself and music has always been my life. I just became very connected to Cass and her friends. I could relate to them on a deep level. As in High School, I was a theatre nerd myself. There were so many moments that made me excited inside.

The writing flowed amazingly. The past was intervened so seamlessly and naturally. It made for a very interesting story. I will definitely be picking up other works by Cynthia Hand because I loved this book so much. The How & The Why is easily one of my new favorite books and the best book that I have read this year. I wish the book didn't end. I wanted even more. Five stars from this book nerd!

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 a mountain of books.
Win (1) of (2) copies of THE HOW & THE WHY by Cynthia Hand (US Only)