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Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Source: Publisher provided through Netgalley
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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….I Want It That Way is a double-edged sword for me. On paper, I really liked a lot of individual parts, which should have led to me really liking this. But in reality, it's just one that didn't jump off the page for me. Objectively, I liked I Want It That Way. It just didn't make my heart patter or my world rock.
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.
There's a lot of focus in I Want It That Way on characters pursing what makes them happy. Hoorah! I'm a definite believer in the idea that the same kinds of paths aren't going to work for everyone. Some people just aren't suited to college, for example, and what they dream of doing doesn't require it. Subscribing to other people's ideas of how you should live your life is for the birds. I think Ann Aguirre did a fantastic job showing this, and it works so well in a college setting, since everyone there is searching for something that will make them happy for the rest of their lives. And in turn, she does a great job encouraging her characters to make hard decisions and fight for what they want, rather than letting people tell them things are just going to happen a certain way. Her characters struggle realistically and it makes the most of the new adult designation in that way.
I really liked Nadia and Ty as well. Nadia is hard-working and driven to make her parents proud by doing well in school and earning her degree so she can teach special needs students. She's admirable in her dedication and her obvious love of teaching. Ty is just as likable. Though closed off at first, he's got a lot more going on under the surface, but he's absolutely and completely committed to his son. He hasn't given up on pursuing his own dream, albeit more slowly, but his rapport with Sam, his son, is so endearing.
So what's the problem? On paper, like I said, I was rooting for Nadia and Ty. Completely. In reality, I wasn't feeling chemistry. I wasn't swooning. I wasn't reacting at all, really. When the happy ending came (as you know it had to), I was glad, but not feeling especially enthusiastic.
I Want It That Way is a nice read. It's quick and there's a lot of great things going on in terms of a focus on finding yourself and pursing your passions, but the romance was rather meh to me. I'm absolutely going to continue the series, however, because I know Ann Aguirre can write swoon-worthy romance and I can't wait to hear Lauren and Max's stories.
Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. She likes books, emo music, and action movies. She writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens.