Review: I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre

Format: Trade Paperback
Pub Date:  Aug 26, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin
Length: 352 pages
FTC: Review copy received for free at RT Convention 2014

I've been fairly outspoken in the past about my dislike of trends and the authors who chase them. I know that's ruffled a few authors' feathers, but from a reader standpoint, it does seem like some authors chase trends more than others. Ann Aguirre isn't really one of them, although she writes both Young Adult and, now, New Adult. In part, I think, because her writing roots are in Sci-Fi/Fantasy, she's always been a genre jumper.

I've also been fairly outspoken about my general disdain for YA and NA as "genres".  To me, they are not genres, but ways to dumb down marketing to the point where marketing departments aren't really needed. It's the self-service, neatly laid out section of the reading market where readers can pick and choose exactly which age group they want to read about in neat little rows. I greatly prefer the messier way it used to be.  When you got too old for the children's section, you moved on to adult literature. And you got to look at a far wider selection of books than is available in those carefully curated age-based marketing sections.

I try not to be a hypocrite, though, so I'm acknowledging that yes, this is an NA book. But it's also a book that used to be (or could be) filed in the regular fiction section alongside the Outsiders or other YA/NA classics. And even better, it's not written in the first person, present tense!

The set up is fairly mundane: the story is told by a young college student pursuing a career in education. She's moving into an apartment complex with three other college students. The meet cute happens over a sofa. He's grumpy and withdrawn. She's offended. Classic stuff.

Where the author hooked me was in having neither of the main characters dealing with petty issues. The stakes are real for both of them. The obstacles they overcome and character arcs they progress through are believable and weighty. She doesn't treat 21 as being a "kid" as so many of the DNF books I've tried have done. 

There isn't a lot of plot to review, and the relationship is just a small part of the overall story, but what is here is well crafted. I really loved the dialogue between the two characters in the dark, each on their own balcony. I was drawn to the characters and their story enough to give NA another shot. This one surprised me.

My Grade: B+

The Blurb: 

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.

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