The first book in Ann Aguirre’s new New Adult series didn’t disappoint!
ABOUT I WANT IT THAT WAY:
Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she’s determined to make them come true. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, dating’s the last thing on her mind. 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, the last thing he wants is noisy students living in 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.
Life is messy and unpredictable; sometimes it’s a punch in the gut sometimes it’s so beautiful, it brings tears to my eyes. Life isn’t a fairy tale. It’s work, sand in your shoes and a sick kid at five in the morning. Life is what happens when you open the door and let beauty in, even if it doesn’t fit according to your plans.
This book really resonated with me, and it has nothing to do with the title. (I didn’t actually “get” the significance of the title at all until I scrolled past some of the other reviews. I was just a tad bit old for the whole Backstreet Boys craze, tragically–though now that I know what it is, I can hum the refrain, so I’m not totally clueless. Aaand now that single line is running nonstop on a loop through my head. Sigh…)
There’s not a huge amount of major drama here, and the characters don’t do anything earth-shattering. Hey, they’re impoverished college students (well, except for Angus, but the most extravagant thing he does with his money is buy someone a much-needed early Christmas present), and let’s face it, real impoverished college students do not live lives of indulgent wonder. Their lives pretty much center around classes, work, studying, and blowing off steam without going through too much cash–so the ways in which Nadia and her roomies spent their days and nights felt totally spot-on to me.
Instead, what made this book was the characters. I loved them all. First, there’s Nadia, the special education major who’s on a scholarship, doing her junior practicum, and working at a day care part-time. She was a character I really identified with. The second last year of a teaching degree is intense enough without working every day on top of it–yet Nadia managed to keep it together pretty well, considering.
Then there’s Ty, the single dad who’s working full-time days and going to school to be an architect at night, yet still has time to read his four-year-old Goodnight Moon before bed. Every Sunday is spent with his son, no exceptions. When he tells Nadia that he wants to design churches someday so he can “thank God personally for Sam”? Yeah, that did it. He’s going to be my favorite book boyfriend for a while for sure.
And that brings us to Ty, the pocket-sized edition–his son Sam. One minute he’s a total sweetheart, the next he’s Mr. Twenty Million questions. The one after that he’s absolutely lost it because he can’t find his stuffed bear. Yep, he’s four. 😉
By the end of the book I felt as if Nadia’s roommates were my friends too: Lauren, Nadia’s BFF from back home who’s been strangely secretive all semester; Max, the “broody, handsome boy” with a troubled past and a heart of gold; and Angus, the unfortunately-named fantastic cook who’s also the only one going in who has a significant other. (Sadly, he’s also the only one who doesn’t get his own book. Hopefully we’ll still see a promise of an HEA for him, because he totally deserves it.)
We only see Nadia’s POV here, but it feels right for the story. The pages seemed to fly by, and I read most of it in an afternoon. Nadia and Ty’s quiet little upstairs-downstairs neighbor moments were some of my favorite bits, and when the sick Sam comes to get Nadia’s help because she’s “right upstairs, and she loves us”? So sweet.
Naturally the black moment’s right around the corner at that point. It was realistic and true to the characters, and not as over-the-top-angsty as some New Adult can be. We get our HEA in the end and it’s a good one, so all is forgiven. Even a week later it’s still giving me feel-good chills.
I can’t wait for the other two books in the trilogy–Lauren’s first up, and then Max. Then it’ll be time to check out Ms. Aguirre’s backlist, I suspect…
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A-
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
“A tender, sweet, and sexy story about how life—and falling in love—can never be planned.”
—Jennifer L. Armentrout, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You
I WANT IT THAT WAY on Goodreads
Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner 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. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.