Review: The How & the Why by Cynthia Hand

Title: The How & the Why
Author: Cynthia Hand
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 464

Content Warnings: adoption, hospitals, heart disease, surgery, racism, abuse, depression, suicide attempt, drug abuse, alcoholism

This post does contain affiliate links. I will receive a small amount from any purchases made through Book Depository at no extra cost to you.

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.

Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

This book. THIS. BOOK. Oh my gosh…

Every single sentence oozed emotion. I felt every word – all the hope, fear, longing, embarrassment, anger, confusion, dread, excitement.

It’s hard to write a review for a book like this. Cassandra’s mom dealt with heart issues and was in the hospital for the majority of the book which made it incredibly difficult for me to read but I’m so thankful I did. This is a story that clearly came straight from Cynthia Hand’s heart and I’m honored I was able to read it.

You have to feel what you feel.

There are alternating storylines between Cassandra’s birth mom writing letters during her pregnancy and Cassandra’s senior year in high school. It was so easy to be invested in both stories. They were woven together exceptionally well and I loved being able to connect the dots between the two.

The characters were all incredible. Each person had an amazing amount of depth and they were so dynamic. They felt like real people – almost as if I could open Facebook, type their names into the search bar, and see them living their lives through pictures and status updates.

Your genes don’t define you.

The How & the Why is a truly beautiful and heartbreaking yet hope-filled own voices story. It’s one that demands to be felt. I devoured it in two sittings (it would have been one but I have a toddler okay?) and I almost want to start it all over again right now. I know I’ll be carrying Cassandra with me for a very long time.

A digital ARC was provided through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Additionally, all quotes should be checked against the final copy.

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.

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Prize: Win (1) of (2) copies of THE HOW AND THE WHY by Cynthia Hand (US Only)
Starts: October 30, 2019
Ends: November 13, 2019

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6 thoughts on “Review: The How & the Why by Cynthia Hand”

  1. I’m glad you mentioned this is perfect for fans of Nina Lacour. I’ve read one of her books so far but loved it so deeply! I’ll have to give this book a try.

    Liked by 1 person

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