Review| The How and the Why – Cynthia Hand

If you’ve been following the blog for awhile, then you know I’m a big fan of contemporary books. The How and the Why is one that caught my attention when it released and I finally got around to reading it. Last month I saw that the audiobook was on Storytel and I knew I needed to finally read this one. Keep on reading to find out what I thought of this book!

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.


“Don’t be sorry for how you feel. Feel what you need to feel. Own your feelings.”

The How and the Why is a story that is so heartwarming, but definitely had me tearing up at moments as well. I was really afraid this book was going to break my heart, but it definitely went different than expected. I can’t relate to this main character, because I was very lucky to be raised by a very loving mother, but I think it’s amazing to read a story from this point of view.

Our main character Cassandra was adopted and thinks her parents are amazing, but she’s almost 18 and is starting to get curious about her history. Where did she come from? Is she anything like her biological parents? Cass’s search to this part of her life and going through her senior year is balanced between the letters her biological mother wrote for her while she was pregnant. What I loved the most about this is that you get to read the struggles she had while pregnant and being a teenager and how Cass was dealing with her life.

The characters felt really realistic and my heart broke for Cass’s mother and Cass at times. I can’t imagine what it’s like making decisions like that or having to wonder where you come from. The author made everything feel real and the feelings were jumping off of the page. The How and the Why is also a beautiful story and shows us many aspects of family. Cynthia Hand is definitely an author I’ll be keeping an eye on!

The How and the Why is a story that’s hard to write a review for, because it is what the synopsis tells us. I can tell you it’s beautiful and will really make you feel for these characters. It was beautiful and definitely didn’t end how I expected. I really recommend reading this book.

The How and the Why really hit me in all the feels and I’ll definitely be anxiously awaiting Cynthia Hand’s next book, With You All the Way. This one releases early 2021! Have you ever read anything by Cynthia Hand? Let me know in the comments.

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