The How & The Why - Review Squad


The How & The Why

Cynthia Hand

Ages 13+


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—but she has questions, too. 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 placed her for adoption, this emotionally resonant narrative is the perfect read for fans of Nina LaCour and Jandy Nelson.


"I can safely say that The How & The Why is one of my new favourite books. It is a heart-warming story about 18-year-old Cassandra McMurtry and her journey to find her birth mother. Cassandra is extremely lucky; she has the best parents she could ever ask for and a great support system of family and friends. But she can’t help but want to know more about her birth mother. What was her name? Did she look like Cassandra? What was she like? Cass was adopted under a closed adoption, so even Cassandra’s parents didn’t know much. But when Cassandra discovers that her birth mother has left her a box of letters, she can’t help herself. These letters could hold the answers to everything. The letters written to Cass are sprinkled throughout the book, one appearing every one or two chapters. It is a nice addition to the novel; this way the reader can fully understand both sides of the story. Cynthia Hand wrote every event in this novel so thoughtfully, with so much detail. By the end of the book it really feels as if Cassandra and her friends could be at your school the next day- they seem that real! I could honestly not stop reading this book. I couldn’t help but want to know what would happen next! The How & The Why is a great read- I would most definitely recommend it!"

  • Enid, 13

Follow Us
  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Instagram Icon
Moonbeam Books Children's Bookstore
335 Jane Street, Toronto ON
info@moonbeambooks.com