Review – I WANT IT THAT WAY by Ann Aguirre

I Want it That WayI WANT IT THAT WAY by Ann Aguirre Harlequin, August 2014 – 5 Stars

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. 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.

Review: College junior, Nadia Conrad has her life organized and well-planned. Two more years and she’ll graduate from the university, making a difference as a special education teacher. She happily moves to an apartment off campus with her friends where she’ll share the master bedroom with her best pal since childhood, Lauren Barrett. Nadia isn’t a stereotypical student, however she and her friends do enjoy movies, alcohol and pizza right up until the grouch who lives downstairs comes up to tell them to cut out the partying at 8:42 pm.

Dan never planned on being a dad at twenty, but sometimes life happens when you least expect it and he’s fully engaged as a single parent to four-year-old son, Sam. Working full-time, attending night school when he can, the last thing he needs are a bunch of crazy college “kids” moving in upstairs, even if one is amazingly cute.

This book provides a different view of college life. Dorms, lots of wild parties, hijinks at sororities and fraternities aren’t part of this story or these students’ worlds. Nadia works at a nursery/day care, attends class and struggles through hands-on training in a special education classroom. She barely has time to breathe, much less fall in love with the grump downstairs, even if she adores his charming, loveable sidekick, Sam.

A realistic setting, well-developed characters, and several “Aah” moments make this the kind of book a reader loves and wants to add to those “keeper” shelves. Dan tugs at the heartstrings when he shares why he wants to be an architect with Nadia. This may be a bit of a “spoiler” but any guy who says he wants to build churches so he can “thank God for his son – Dan’s son, that is,” deserves an “Aah” or two. One can easily extend that to more than one son. When Nadia fails at writing her first project for the practicum teacher, but learns where she went wrong, we root for her to win the next time. If she does, so will her future students.

Yes, this is a love story, but don’t expect a simple “girl meets boy” theme. It’s not a fast-paced book. Every word adds layer and beauty to a well-told tale. While it can stand alone, I Want It That Way is part of a trilogy. Most readers will happily move onto what happens next in this world.

Review provided by Shannon Kennedy for her column Shannon’s Space in the November 2014 issue of The Book Breeze.

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