I haven’t read a New Adult book in a long time. They all seemed so angsty, full of tortured souls and lots of weeping. I admit that I enjoy dramatic sobbing on occasion, but I require a good mental palate cleanse afterwards. This book was quite a surprise for me, then, because it was so New Adult-y with the age range and characters learning to be independent, but the characters were so…what’s the opposite of dysfunctional? Oh, right. Functional.
Nadia is a junior in college. She and three friends have just moved off campus after years of dorm living, and Nadia plans to become a Special Education teacher. She works at a daycare to supplement her college scholarship, she’s doing student teaching, she has to hang out with her roommates; her schedule is very full.
But there’s this guy living in the apartment below them. He reluctantly helps them move a couch upstairs, and he has red hair, so Nadia thinks of him as Grumpy Ginger. I loved this line: “If curt was a hat, he would be wearing it with jaunty disregard for our feelings.” There’s a reason Ty doesn’t want to hang out with the college kids upstairs: he has a four-year-old son living with him. He has a day job and night classes, he’s tired all the time, and his aunt just broke her leg so she can’t babysit anymore.
Nadia and Ty both like to hang out on their balconies at night, so they begin talking. It’s easier when they can’t look each other in the eye. Then, Ty enrolls his son at Nadia’s daycare, so she gets more involved. Ty is so hot for Nadia, but he tells her they can’t date because, first of all, he only has one child-free weekend a month and that’s a terrible schedule for a relationship; and second of all, when they eventually break up it will make things awkward at the apartment building and at daycare. So they definitely should not hook up. (Spoiler: they hook up.)
Nadia was an interesting character for me. She was mature, but not because she’d had a terrible childhood and been forced to grow up too soon. No, she even had a loving relationship with her family and they were helping to pay for her college tuition! I think the most shocking moment of the book for me was when her mom offered to mail her a care package, and Nadia was excited about it instead of resentful. I’ve totally been reading the wrong books when I find that surprising. Nadia also spends a lot of time being responsible at work and at school.
I didn’t learn as much about Ty because the book is narrated by Nadia. However, he was also a responsible person who ignored his own desires in order to put his son first. Over the course of the book, he learns that maybe it’s okay to let people into his life, because then his son will have more people to love him, and it’s really sweet. Shut up.
I received this book at a local RWA conference where Anne Aguirre was a keynote speaker. I didn’t know who she was, but she stepped up to the podium and put on a unicorn hat (there are pictures on Twitter), then proceeded to tell hilarious stories of her journey to publication while encouraging us all to be special unicorns. She was fabulous, and I’m so glad I enjoyed her book, too!
Click to purchase: Amazon
I Want It That Way
by Ann Aguirre
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin HQN