Welcome to this stop on the blog tour for The How & the Why by Cynthia Hand, hosted by the Fantastic Flying Book Club! This was such a lovely story, so let’s jump right in!
About the Book
Title: The How & the Why
Author: Cynthia Hand
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Genre: YA Contemporary
Blurb: 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.
Review: Okay, folks. This is another book that I literally read in one day, partly because I hadn’t had time to read it before the tour started, but mostly because I didn’t want to put it down. I had never read Cynthia Hand’s books before but I am definitely now a fan.
Here are the first few things that drew me in immediately: the main character is a theater geek! I am a theater geek! She is performing in a production of Into the Woods. My first community theater show was Into the Woods! I love Cass already! She’s a really great character who, although has a lot of challenges, is really just trying to do her best. I’ve also always been a little fascinated with the idea of being adopted and the conflict between the love you feel for the family that raised you and the curiosity you have for your birth parents. It was interesting to read in the author’s note at the end that Hand was adopted and wrote this book to explore her own feelings and wishes. That was really cool.
Also, Cass’s best friend Nyla – everyone needs a Nyla in their life. She actually reminded me a bit of a friend of mine from high school, even down to the being black and adopted by a white family.
I also really liked the structure of the story, switching back and forth between Cass’s journey through her senior year and the letters written by her birth mother, who we only know as “S” through most of the book. I really liked “S.” She was in a bad spot, pregnant at 16 with very little support, but she faced it with a sarcastic sense of humor that I really appreciated, even if it was humor to keep from facing the actual truth. I do think that it is brave when someone gives their child up for adoption, knowing and acknowledging that they are not ready to give their child the life they should have.
This was a great book for me to read right now. It was a great story with great characters and just a heartfelt, uplifting message. I highly recommend it.
GoodReads rating: 5 stars!
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 a mountain of books.
This tour features a giveaway. You can enter to win a copy of The How & the Why. This giveaway is open to US only. You can enter via this Rafflecopter link. Good luck!
Follow the Tour!
Be sure to check out the rest of the tour, where you can find more reviews, guest posts, interviews with the author, excerpts, and more! You can see the schedule here. Thanks again to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for hosting this tour and for letting me be a part of it! Love you guys!