Title: I WANT IT THAT WAY (2B Trilogy #1)
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Publication Date: August 26, 2014
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….
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.
Oh my, reading the titles of Ann Aguirre’s 2B Trilogy makes me want to sing! Seriously, the three titles are basically song titles from the Backstreet Boys: I Want it that Way, As Long As You Love Me and The Shape of my Heart. Is Ann Aguirre a fan of those boys? Lalalala
I Want It That Way is the first ever book that I’ve read written by Ann Aguirre, so I was really excited to read IWITW and know how she delivers as a writer. For me, this one just felt like an okay book. There were moments that my attention will be caught, heartstrings tugged but there were also moments that felt to be fillers for the pages of the book – quite boring and monotonous, if I must say. But the thing that I love the most about this book is that it didn’t paved way for more clichéd stuff to pop into the storyline. Just like: "the past" showing up and retracting actions and words from the previous years, a third party springing in the middle of the Nadia-Ty relationship meltdown or somebody cheats on the other person. Good thing, none of the above happened in the book or else.
One of the things that I liked about this book is that it showed the realness of the struggle of being a student. Some books out there would just probably concentrate on the relationship aspect of the main characters and totally forgetting the importance of the setting and circumstances that their characters are in. Most would set their characters in a plush college, dorm and then add in that clichéd troubled/broken family ordeal. With Aguirre, she made IWITW very relatable to college students who go through exactly the same thing. I haven’t experienced working when I was in college because I have scholarships and my parents was there to support me but I’ve witnessed some of my classmates go through that. The struggle is real, guys! In IWITW, we see Nadia and Lauren struggle and feel the pressure college have bestowed on them. We see them try to hold on tight to that sliver of hope (aka the scholarship given to them) to be able to finish their studies and at the same time taking jobs on the side to earn additional money.
While we witness Nadia go through her college life, Ty is in a lot more complicated position. Ty is actually a single dad to a four year-old, Sam. With that as his full time responsibility, he also has to take a full work load during the day to earn money and after that attends to a night school to finish his studies. That’s a tough life and job to live. He has a troubled past which kept him quite aloof to the people around him and as much as possible, he keeps his life planned and keeps track of it. So when Nadia came barging in their apartment complex, Ty figures out a way to keep his life with Sam separate from the brewing connection with his new apartment neighbor.
Before I further comment on some elements of the book, I need to let this out already. I’m a sucker for books with kids in it. Single mom or a single dad, I’m in. That's part of why I picked this one up. IWITW didn't disappoint. There were loads of cute scenes that involved Sam. There was a scene towards the end part of this book that really made me tear up. I felt the genuine emotion of a kid being thrust in a situation like that and Sam’s reaction/lines just got to me. *sniffs*
Let's start up. At first, I was really enjoying Nadia and Ty's interaction in the balcony area. It seemed cute and sweet. But when Aguirre took the route of "Friends with Benefits" ... uh-oh! Wait, what? I know that Ty has to consider Sam first and I really felt his need to keep his relationship with Nadia separate from it but it could've turn a whole lot simpler if they just dated each other. Date each other and see where things can go from there. If it didn’t turn out well, they could’ve just called it quits. No unnecessary mess, right? Basically, sex complicates things. Plus, from the very beginning both of them already smelt like two people who’ll eventually fall for each other and complicate things along the way because of keeping to their word of just being labeled as FWB.
I would’ve loved this book more if Aguirre allotted scenes where Nadia and Ty interacted more with each other. This may be the reason why I wasn’t that sold with the relationship of these characters. Their relationship was practically built from a Friends with Benefits situation and I’m not saying that emotions or caring for someone won’t come out from that scenario. But I would’ve just want them to have more scenes getting into deep conversations with each other (before or during their FWB deal) and not just getting all too clingy after having sex. I also wouldn’t be getting a whiplash when Nadia went from lusting over Ty to loving him in a span of a few weeks where their only communication is through text and weekends (that could be counted on the fingers of my one hand) that they’ve wholly spent getting on with it.
Despite my uncertainties towards Nadia and Ty's relationship, IWITW highlighted other important aspects of being human which are: constant connection with family members and the capability of human beings to form bonds with each other. I love the fact that Aguirre was able to incorporate their families into the story. Especially with Nadia. It was a really great idea for her mom to be the person to help her out at that crucial moment in her life.
Friendship. Even if you’ve done something stupid in your life and your friends have forewarned you about the consequences of that action, these said friends will always have your back when you’re at an all time low. I love Nadia’s friends – Lauren, Max and Angus. They were her own cheering squad. All of them really played their own parts in Nadia's life. I want to hug all of them. Especially, Max. Oh boy. I'm intrigued with what'll happen next with his character. His situation totally sucks. Is he going to have his own story? I hope so. *fingers crossed*
I’m really excited to read the second book of this trilogy. If I’m not mistaken, it would focus on the characters of Lauren and Rob! Eeeeep! When it was first mentioned in IWITW that Lauren has a thing towards Rob during their younger years, I was already figuring things out how their paths are going to cross again. So, when Aguirre pulled out that trick concerning Lauren's character ... I knew it! That's where the story line for these two will open and take place. It couldn't be helped also that Rob's character is a very interesting one! I think there's a lot to explore regarding him and his inner turmoil. You can already sense his struggle towards his family and I can't wait to delve it that!
All in all, I quite enjoyed reading this one and definitely looking forward to the next one!