Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Publication Date: September 30th, 2014
Series: 2B Trilogy #2
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Most people dream about getting out of Sharon, Nebraska, but after three years away, Lauren Barrett is coming home. There are the justifications she gives to everyone else—missing her family, losing her college scholarship. And then there’s the reason Lauren can’t admit to anyone: Rob Conrad, her best friend’s older brother.
Football prowess and jaw-dropping good looks made Rob a star in high school. Out in the real world, his job and his relationships are going nowhere. He can’t pinpoint exactly what’s missing until Lauren comes back to town, bringing old feelings and new dreams with her. But he’s the guy that women love and leave—not the one who makes them think of forever.
Though she’s terrified of opening up, Lauren’s ready to take that chance. Because the only thing more important than figuring out where you truly belong is finding the person you were meant to be with.
I believe I mentioned in my review for I Want It That Way that I thought it was a good start for Ann's first foray into a new genre, but she definitely had more to bring to the table. After reading As Long AS You Love Me that definitely rings true. As Long As You Love Me like I Want It That Way doesn't sugar coat how young adults live. So many new adult books write characters with lifestyles that are so unrealistic. They have no care for money and their futures. Yea, no. 95% of us will paying off student debts for years. After seven years, mine is almost paid off. Sure, well I was in college I could have been a hell of a lot better with my money. Booze and partying does misguide your judgments in college. Ann does mention that. What I'm getting at is she isn't unrealistic about a students lifestyle. They have student debts, work low paying part-time jobs, are confused about their futures, are constantly poor, etc... It's refreshing to see a new adult book deal with realistic situations.
We kind of got a feel for Lauren in I Want It That Way. She was Nadia's child hood and best friend. As well as being her roommate. We also knew that she dropped out of college and moved back to their hometown. This is where we meet her. She's just moved back in with her mother. Is looking for a job and enrolling in online classes. Lauren doesn't have any friend's in town. But she does have her crush, and Nadia's brother, Rob hanging around. Lauren has been crushing on him for years. She'd love to make a move but there's a few things standing in her way. One his girlfriend, and two he's Nadia's brother. She can be friend's with him though. So when she starts helping him renovate his house and just generally spending time with him, feelings start to get construed. Thus begins a pretty good love affair.
I really liked, Lauren. There was a lot that I related with in her. She has very high social anxiety. And although I get nowhere near the level she finds herself at when dealing with crowds. I definitely find myself trying to get out of events, parties, etc... when I have to go by myself. Or just generally going somewhere there's going to be people I don't know. It's overwhelming and a little panic inducing. Lauren has full on panic attacks. Makes herself sick. Everything, the poor girl. The thing is that for years she's tried to cover it up by putting on party, Lauren. Party, Lauren has done a lot of not very wise things. So moving home has helped her get away from that past. Now she's just trying to work on her anxiety. Lauren, just felt really real to me. Her home situation and who she's crushing on, totally relate. Ugh on the crush side. The thing is Lauren isn't afraid to open her mouth. Sure sometimes she says stupid things without thinking, but I'm guilty of that. Probably too much so. She's just quite mature and surprised me with how mature she was in certain situations. It was great when she decided to befriend Rob's ex rather than play down to her level and have some girl hate. Score one for Ann, and strong girl friendships! Lauren, is just sassy and smart. With this cool side to her. I might be harbouring a little girl crush.
Rob. Poor, Rob. He's such a cutie. Just a good guy. Unfortunately he grew up being told that he's not the smartest. But he's very handsome and good with his hands, so he'll survive. *shakes head* It was actually a little depressing how Rob, saw himself. So what he's not a genius. He's fully renovating a house he bought. Is great at his job in construction. And makes fantastic pieces of woodwork. Rob, has some insecurity issues. He doesn't think he deserves more than he gets. You know what I mean? Because of how he was treated mentally, he's settling and not working towards his full potential. It's not that he was ever abused. It's that he was never given the chance to pursue college because his parents said they could only afford for one kid to go and he wasn't it. So that put him off of taking the football scholarship he got because he figured he'd fail anyhow. Sad. Rob, definitely is a great guy. There's no games with him. He's ridiculously kind and thoughtful. And what girl doesn't love a guy that's good with his hammer?
The quirks and insecurities that Rob and Lauren each bring with them are what makes their relationship super fantastic. Before they're together Lauren, is constantly telling Rob, how great his work is or how much he helps and is needed. Just really giving him a much needed confidence boost. Rob, tells Lauren, how she's beautiful and that she can do whatever she wants because she's smart enough and smarter than those pigs in her online classes. Than they get together and it's hot yet adorable. They're a great ship to get on board with. Lauren, gives Rob the push(and help) he needs to start selling his pieces. Rob, is so patient when Lauren has an anxiety or panic attack. They're just there for each other in a really supportive way. Best of all, they talk about shit. When they get pissed at each other they don't let it simmer. They say we're going talk about why my feelings were hurt until they're not hurt anymore or you understand why they were in the first place. Hey, imagine that, talking it helps.
Of course the "bump" in their relationship was a bit over dramatic. But it's a romance book, that's how it goes. And it gave them each time to work on themselves, which I appreciated.
I loved how real As Long As You Love Me was. I loved how easy it is to relate to the characters. But more importantly I love seeing a mature, supportive relationship in a NA book. A lot of the time there's too many secrets and hiding pasts. That just gets to be too much. Lauren, and Rob. have no problems putting themselves out there for the other person. That's how it should be. The person either takes the person you are or they walk out the door. I really interested to see how the relationship plays out in the last book of this trilogy, The Shape of My Heart after seeing how differently the relationship dynamics were in I Want it That Way and As Long As You Love Me. Especially because we didn't get much of a taste for the two characters we're getting next.
Read the First Chapter HERE!
Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Newsletter Sign Up