Reviewed by Tori
Nadia Conrad is in college, studying to be a special education teacher. Between her grueling work schedule and full course load, Nadia has no time for herself much less time to date anyone. But when she moves into a new apartment and meets her downstairs neighbor, Nadia feels a connection that may toss all her plans into the wind.
Daniel (Ty) Tyler has his own problems. A young single dad; he works full time and goes to night school to try and make a better life for himself and his four year old son. Having lost at love once before, romance is something he neither wants or needs, but when he meets Nadia, he can’t seem to stay away from her.
Sometimes love happens whether we want it or not. And sometimes, we didn’t even know we wanted it until its gone.
I’m going to tell you all a secret. I’ve never been a Back Street Boys fan. Don’t hate me, haters!! When I was first offered this for review, I didn’t get the significance of the book title until a friend clued me in. I still don’t really get it but that’s okay. I Want It That Way is the first in a trilogy and Ann Aguirre’s first foray into New Adult romance. A talented author whose urban fantasies and dystopian YAs I have enjoyed in the past, I was thrilled to see Aguirre venture into a new genre.
Aguirre pens an easy going low conflict coming of age story that touches on the average social and emotional problems that this age group can encounter. Well written but predictable in the journey and the addition of strategically placed melodrama to heighten the appeal of the conflict. Interesting secondary characters add humor and a sense of realism to the story; from Nadia’s friends to her bosses and family.
Nadia, our protagonist, is a personable albeit average character. Smart, snarky, and extremely work orientated, she handles life as best she can, always coming up with a suitable solution herself or with some external help. She has a bit of a naughty side to her that was cute but announced itself rather abruptly in scenes. Not prone to overly emotional meltdowns or dramatic gestures of angst, she’s easy to read about but not overly exciting.
Aguirre paints a realistic portrait of Ty as a single father. Ty’s girlfriend’s abandonment of him and their newborn son left a huge hole of anger and guilt in Ty. With his backstory and overwhelming schedule, you can feel his weariness and understand why he shies away from relationships though his hot/cold attitude towards Nadia does wear on the reader. We don’t get a lot from him (physically or emotionally) so it was hard to see him for more than just a romantic plotline.
I felt that Aguirre did a better job of developing Nadia and her individual relationships with her roommates more than with Ty and the romance itself. The fact it’s all presented from Nadia’s point of view causes the reader to lose valuable insight we would have gained from hearing Ty’s thoughts and emotions at certain pivotal scenes. The romance moves very fast; insta-lust strikes hard and Nadia speaks of falling in love rather quickly. It’s hard to accept that is how she feels because their relationship is presented in a time frame of sorts. The chemistry seems to be sexual in nature (Nadia and Ty in conversations and Nadia’s thoughts speak of how sexy each other is, ect…) I wanted more in depth conversations that addressed their attraction and explained why they feel this way about one another. What was the one thing that made each other the one. We never get to see where it turns to an emotional attraction. Nadia’s day to day activities and her life in general overwhelms the actual romance. Aguirre also skips ahead days and weeks where we are told things happen but don’t see it actually unfolding. The conflict wars with the subplots at times and it made me want to skip ahead and bypass the banality that affects the story.
Regardless of my issues, I did enjoy the book overall though I wasn’t enamored with it. It doesn’t stand out from other new adult books being offered and that was a disappointment. I admit to being curious about the next one in the trilogy-As Long As you love Me-as this couple was alluded to frequently in this book and I’m curious to see if Aguirre can find the romantic balance and development that was needed in here.