Three-sentence Review: The How and the Why by Cynthia Hand

 In Three-sentence Reviews

A three-sentence review of The How and the Why by Cynthia Hand published by Harper Teen.

Cass was adopted by good and kind parents and her life has been mostly smooth sailing for eighteen years, though she is starting to wonder more about her birth mother. Alternating with Cass’s story are the letters—salty, funny, and sometimes sad—written by her birth mother to her unborn child. As Cass’s friendships and love interests grow and change during her senior year she searches for her mother; readers will have their fingers crossed that those letters will be delivered.

I’ve got 85 beta reading questions and here’s one of them:

What were the main character’s goals?

We’re calling Cass the main character here, even though her birth mother looms large. Cass had a few goals. I’m a sucker for a romance, so I’ll talk about the romance first. Cass wants a boyfriend. Her wanting is on display early on in a humorous way when she accidentally announces her goal in front her her family.

Cass also wants to go to a college where she can develop her musical theater skills. Because finances are tight, she worries about not only getting accepted to, but also affording college. She also wants to avoid her father’s alma mater.

But the big thing Cass wants is to know more about her birth parents. This is tricky, because her mother is very sick and she doesn’t want her parents to think she is trying to replace them. The complicated feelings that emerge between Cass and her parents about this topic are one of the many great things about this novel.

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Blue background. Text: Three-sentence reviews. Picture of the book cover of When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk