I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre
Book One of the 2B series
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Publication Date: August 26, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley
***Warning: this book contains mature subject matter, and is for the eyes of mature readers***
Summary (from Goodreads):
Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she's determined to make them come true—for her parents' sake as well as her own. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, she barely has time to think, let alone date. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….
Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can't risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, a social life is out of the question. The last thing he wants is for four noisy students to move into the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia's and Ty's paths cross, and soon they can't stay away from each other.
The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can't know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.
What I Liked:
You all KNOW my struggle with New Adult contemporary romance novels. A few years ago, I read a lot of the "originals" - New Adult contemporary romance novels that weren't yet christened "New Adult", that weren't yet bought by large publishing companies. Colleen Hoover, Jamie McGuire, and Tammara Webber were still doing the indie thing. I liked what I read... up until the publishing companies starting buying these indie books, and suddenly, EVERY author was writing New Adult contemporary romance novels, and self-publishing them, probably hoping that the big companies would buy their book's rights.
And the sad thing was/is, these books all started to sound the same. They WERE the same - innocent girl meets "bad" boy, falls in love with him, wants to fix him. Meanwhile, he has a dark, deadly past, he doesn't do emotions, but oh yes, he'd love to do her. It's very possible that she either has experienced or will experience rape or sexual abuse at some point.
Blah. Blah. Blah. I'm telling you right now, if this book followed the same bulls*** plot as the "older" New Adult contemporary romance novels, I would barf, rage, write a heck of a 0-star review, and forget that I requested and was approved for the next book. Aren't we all happy that's not the case?
Nadia and her friends Max, Lauren, and Angus have just moved into a new apartment. They're juniors, so no more on-campus dorm housing (don't I know this struggle). Nadia isn't expecting to fall into lust (and eventually, love) with the hawt neighbor on the floor below, Ty. Ty is three years older, works during the day and takes night classes, oh, has a four-year-old son (no wife, no girlfriend, no baby momma). Ty doesn't want a serious relationship with anyone, not after what happened with his ex-girlfriend, not with his son so young. But he and Nadia can't seem to stay away...
I don't think this book was too cliche at all. I haven't read a single New Adult contemporary romance novel that involved the male protagonist having a son - oh wait. Actually, now that I think about it, I remember on of J. Lynn's has that story. Ish. It's not as serious as it is in this book (if you know what I mean). We see so much of Sam, you can't not love him. Nadia is a part-time teacher at a daycare academy, so when Ty enrolls Sam, Nadia is teaching Sam every day.
I really enjoyed this story. I found that I read it really quickly, which was nice. It wasn't *too* focused on the angst and heartache and chemistry and blah blah blah. I mean, it was, kind of, but nothing like most New Adult contemporary romance novels (in which the romance is ALWAYS over the top and exaggerated - in my opinion. Don't forget that I'm a "new adult" in college). Ty and Nadia aren't constantly banging or flirting or doing that dance around each other. Their relationship, from the start, is more meaningful. They don't start based on oh-my-gosh-I-want-to-be-in-his/her-pants-ASAP. I mean, they both think that, but they start actually interacting on a deep level first, physical second. Or maybe third. Or tenth.
That being said, I really liked the romance. Ty and Nadia don't have a cookie-cutter fall-in-love story. They don't meet, flirt, hook up, fall in love, break up, fall in love and end up together. No, their journey is much more complicated than that, especially with Sam in the picture.
I love how much else is going on in this book. Nadia has a lot to deal with, with classes and work and her best friend's school crisis and her apartment-mates and Ty. Towards the end, it's like life took a giant dump of Nadia, but it feels very natural. Like there were little cues throughout the book that hinted that something of this or that nature would happen. I like how natural things flowed, instead of how most New Adult contemporary romance novels just throw random plot twists and climaxes at readers.
I didn't hate the female protagonist! Nadia isn't stupid or wishy-washy or straight-up DUMB, like most female protagonists in New Adult contemporary romance novels. And I love in the end, how SHE took charge of things (being vague). Good for her! Nadia doesn't necessarily have demons, but Ty does. His demons, in my opinion, are REAL. Not that I'm saying that the demons of male protagonists of other New Adult contemporary romance novels aren't necessarily real... but they don't seem to matter as much as something like a pregnancy, a child.
You know how most New Adult contemporary romance novels end perfectly? Like, boy and girl FINALLY get together as a real couple, girl faces her demons, boy faces his, boy saves girl from getting raped or run over by cars or beat up or whatever, and everyone sails off into the sunset. Well, in this book, the ending isn't what you would expect in a New Adult contemporary romance novel. Not everyone ends up perfectly happy. But I shan't give anything away!
Overall, I really liked this book. And not just because it's an Ann Aguirre book (though I do love Aguirre's books in general), but because it was a genuinely good book. Also, perhaps it's good that I took such a long break from New Adult contemporary romance novels. But I don't think I would have liked this book less if I still had been reading (and hating) New Adult contemporary romance novels, like before!
What I Did Not Like:
In no way do I promote the practice of day drinking, binge-drinking, post-break-up drinking, blackout drinking - quite frankly, I don't promote or endorse any type of drinking. Contrary to what you'll infer from most authors and their wine, alcohol is bad for you, people. Moderation is good though.
That was more like a disclaimer, not a dislike. Take it as you will!
Would I Recommend It:
If you like New Adult contemporary romance novels, definitely give this book a chance. If you like contemporary or romance novels in general, you will enjoy this book! There is adult content and whatnot, so be warned.
4 stars. YAY, a positive rating for a New Adult contemporary romance novel, coming from a "new adult" who has read sooo many New Adult contemporary novels, and disliked a good number of them! That says something, people.
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